Helping everyone sell more
2019 March No. 6 8 Vol. 3
DROP IN. DRIFT OUT.
Independently audited ABC circulation of 5,112 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018
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Regular 19 ary 20 Febru No. 5 8 Vol. 3 Chairman Malcolm Naish firstname.lastname@example.org
Leader – with Mark Naish
News – the latest toy industry headlines
14 People news – all the movers and shakers 16 Media news – the multimedia rundown 18 Movie news – what’s happening on the big screen 20 Licensing news – the latest on licensed products 24 TnP ambassadors – our tiny testers try out products 31 Toy talk – retailers let us know what is selling well
Mark Naish email@example.com
40 What’s new – new products that you need to get your hands on
77 S tep back in time – a slice of toy history from the industry’s longest-running magazine
Mairead Wilmot firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Georgie Dobie email@example.com
Media Solutions Manager Simon Davis firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer Naomi MacKay email@example.com
Writer Sarah Welsh
Digital Publisher Mirella Anstey firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital Writer Rhys Thomas email@example.com
Production Director Paul Naish firstname.lastname@example.org
Design and Production Marian McNamara email@example.com
Circulation Manager Robert Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
26 Retail news – the latest from the retail landscape
79 Don’t miss – unmissable products for all buyers and retailers
Features 34 Internet and digital gaming inspired toys – introducing some of the game licences inspiring the toy industry 42 Games and puzzles – from pocket money price points to retro games, this category’s appeal continues to grow 64 Outdoor toys – TnP scouts out some of this year’s top outdoor toys that’ll get kids out of the house
12 The future is bright, the future is… – Steve Pasierb, CEO, The Toy Association, talks to TnP about opportunities for innovation and toy trends for 2019 28 Retail interview – Daniel’s discusses its royal customers, winning Department Store Retailer of the Year Award and 100+ years of successful trading 36 Cover story – Jazwares talks about the success of its Fortnite products and reveals what’s in store for 2019 76 North American Toy Fair review – looking back on the New York show
Columnists 17 Media analysis - Generation Media considers how companies can best invest TV advertising budgets
22 Gaining insight – Kids Insights predicts some of the trends to watch out for this year 32 Retail opinion – John Ryan talks Toys R Us and its comeback under the newly-founded Tru Kids Brand 38 The Independent/Secret Supplier – Our dynamic duo talk customer complaints
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At the heart of retail A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation
Independently audited ABC circulation of 5,112
1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018
Helping everyone sell more
W A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation
Independently audited ABC circulation of 5,112 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018
At the heart of retail Also by Lema Publishing
J Leader March.indd 1
e say it conjunction with Naish every year YouTube's own –where algorithm that will has the time gone? continuously recommend It only seems like videos of a similar type, yesterday we were effectively giving them an enjoying the delights unending stream of content. of London Toy Fair, And, when advertisers pullNuremberg and New out, tough choices need York, and here we are to be made. YouTube does with some sunshine in try to moderate and police March and hoping all comment sections – but this the great conversations we had then are budding is an unfathomably difﬁcult task. So, the simplest to life with the coming Spring. Many will bare thing to do was to switch off the comments section. fruit, some won’t make it to the end of Spring, but You may ask: "What has this got to do with us?" some unexpected ones will come down the line Well, it’s twofold – 'kidﬂuencers' are an important later in the year. part of toy marketing and without the comments With talk of shows, we have AIS, section it’s difﬁcult to ascertain whether the channel Toymaster and Distoy just around the is being watched beyond being shown the number corner to look forward of views which doesn't give any to – so if they are evidence that is's being watched for Debenhams not already pencilled meaninful length of time. Secondly, board shenanigans any in, then do it now. without comments there is a very resemble what will real chance of views dramatically Congratulations go to Amy Saunders, who likely happen to our dropping. This affects the effectiveness will be heading up of the kidﬂuencer and the inﬂuencers' governments Skyrocket as General income from YouTube itself and other cabinet come 30th revenue generators, meaning it won't Manager for the UK. I March, with Mike wish her luck, but I am be viable for the channel creator or certain she will take the company indeed of value to the marketer. It Ashley proposing to great heights as their name will be interesting to see how this to eject all the implies. develops. One thing is for certain, you current board It’s all change and not don’t have these issues with traditional particularly pretty at Debenhams. media channels. And, in effect, without members Its board shenanigans resemble comments, this is what YouTube will what will likely happen to our effectively become! governments cabinet come 30th March, with In this issue, we take a look at the games and Mike Ashley proposing to eject all the current puzzles sector. It had a challenging time last year, but board members, with the exception of Finance many proﬁted from it. Talking of doing well, Asmodee Chief Rachel Osbourne and place himself in an are in exclusive talks to buy the Searainbow Group executive role. Whatever your views on Mr Ashley, – the parent company of Green Board Games, The given the state of Debenhams, would this be such Lagoon Group Lagoon and Asian distributor Wisdom a bad move? And if his deep involvement and Warehouse. likely changes save this important retailer, then We also scout out some of this year’s top outdoor perhaps it’s for the best? Email me your thoughts toys that’ll get kids out of the house. These include with what you would do in his position. new lines from the TP brand, which is part of the Youtube has now disabled most comment Mookie portfolio, the all-exciting licensed wheeled sections on videos containing young children. toys from MV Sports', the beautiful new Bird Feeder This, it would seem, is to appease advertisers and Birdhouse from Janod/Juratoys, and more. who paused their ad spending after it is alleged We consider the increasing popularity of video paedophiles were lurking in YouTube's comment games and reﬂect on the opportunities this opens section and were using the platform to ﬁnd and up for the toy industry. And in our cover story with share innocent videos with one another. This, in Jazwares, on page 36, we ﬁnd out ﬁrst-hand how this great brand has beneﬁtted from the growing support for internet and digital gaming. We chat to to them about their success of its new Fortnite products and get a heads-up on what's to come from them later in the year.
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Asmodee sets sights on Searainbow Asmodee Group has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire the companies of the Searainbow Group, which includes The Green Board Company. Established in 2004, Searainbow Group started in China as Forever Bright, a producer of innovative educational toys and related items. The company also distributes toys and games to the Asian markets through its
subsidiary Wisdom Warehouse. In 2015, Searainbow acquired educational games maker The Green Board Game Company, followed by games and puzzles brand Lagoon in 2018. The acquisition will allow Asmodee Group to offer a wider product range, as well as strengthen its educational games publishing and distribution on the European market.
Hama Beads and Plus-Plus back on screen Get set for Toy Fair 2020! Preparations for Toy Fair 2020, the UK’s largest dedicated, toy and hobby trade exhibition, are already under way. Exhibitor applications are ﬂooding in fast as companies make the most of the early booking discount, which is available to exhibitors who secure their stand deposit by the end of March. Applications for Toy Fair 2020 can be made online at www.toyfair. co.uk and companies should contact Majen@btha.co.uk for all sponsorship opportunities. Toy Fair 2020 will take place at Olympia, London from 21-23 January 2020.
Hama Beads and Plus-Plus will be back on TV with even more TVRs across the busy Easter period. The move is part of further investment in marketing and PR campaigns for 2019 by DKL Marketing. The aim of the campaigns will be to drive consumers into stores by increasing support for its retailers. Further marketing and PR will take place across the entire brand’s ranges including social media, influencer outreach and in-store support. The objective will be to build on the existing loyal following for the brands, and introduce new parents to the high play value of Hama Beads and Plus-Plus.
Funko gets on board Funko, best known for its market-leading pop culture collectables, has acquired award-winning board game development studio Forrest-Pruzan Creative LLC (FPC). The acquisition marks the first move into the board game category for Funko. Through FPC, Funko says it hopes to allow pop culture enthusiasts to display their fandom through multiplayer interaction with their favourite characters. Based in Seattle, Washington, FPC was founded in 2000 by Andy Forrest and Alan Pruzan and has a staff of more than 20 designers working under the creative leadership of Jay Wheatley. The firm specialises in game invention, game design, and playtesting, and is behind top-tier licensed games such as Disney Villainous, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, Bob Ross – Art of Chill and Choose Your Own Adventure – House of Danger. FPC specialises in licensed games, including Disney Villainous “We’ve always been incredibly impressed with FPC’s portfolio and have witnessed the company make a name for itself on a global level,” says Funko President Andrew Perlmutter. “As we expand our product portfolio, we believe this acquisition is in line with what we are doing with apparel, accessories and Funko Animation Studios. “The games category is another avenue to deliver pop culture to our ever-growing fan base. FPC’s nearly two decades of experience in developing high quality games will provide us added expertise as we leverage our existing IP and licensor portfolio into this category.” Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Funko did says it does not expect the investment to have a material impact on its financial performance in 2019.
Jazwares inks deal with Iberian distributor Jazwares has signed a new deal with Iberian distributor Toy Partner, strengthening ties in a region the toymaker says is “essential” to its future growth. The partnership will secure placement at retail, along with branded statements to build the Jazwares’ presence in Spain and Portugal. Among the confirmed products Toy Partner will distribute in the region are Jazwares’ licensed portfolio, including Fortnite, Domez and Roblox. Iberia is one of the remaining regions in Europe where Toys R Us is a strong force in toy retail, following its acquisition for £80 million by Portuguese fund Green Swan last August. Pictured (L to R): Matt Cohen, Jazwares Director of International Sales, Hector Rubini Chief Executive & Julio Rubini Chairman of Toy Partner, and Arthur Ferreira, VP of Jazwares International Sales.
Barbie birthday! Argos is showcasing nostalgic Barbie favourites from the past four decades as well as the latest Barbie dolls and accessories at its Old Street Store from 6 – 13 March. Entry free, open 8.30am to 8pm.
TnP caught up with Darrell Jones, Head of Marketing at Vivid Imaginations, to find out what’s in the pipeline after its acquisition by Goliath Last year we heard Vivid had been acquired by Goliath – what we can expect as a result of this announcement? It’s an exciting time for both businesses. Goliath is a global top 10 toy company, number three in Games in the US and number two in France with oﬃces in 13 different markets. By acquiring Vivid, Goliath now has a strong foothold in the UK and Vivid now has a truly global presence. It allows us to think more globally when it comes to product development, sharing marketing campaigns and insights as well as strengthening our relationships with distributor partners as we can now offer up a wider global solution for product placement. Vivid promised it would bring a completely new games offering to market for 2019 – can you tell us more? Before the acquisition, we ran a number of very successful Goliath games including Shark Bite, Foxy Pants and Wordsearch and we are adding to this with 20 new games, most of which are TV advertised including Lucky Ducks, Gator Golf, Dragon Snacks and the perennial game Sequence, which has already sold more than 10 million units in the US. Both Vivid and Goliath have a great reputation for keeping up with the trends and bringing to market many hugely successful IPs. How do you do it? We have always enjoyed networking with our licensing partners and by doing so get to see all the latest developments. We have a talented insights team who also help to keep track of hot trends that often fall outside of the traditional TV and movie platforms. That is how we came across Ryan’s World and we are delighted to represent the property in the UK; initial sales indicate that this will be a hot property for 2019.
A mighty good display! Character Options’ Mighty Beanz Golden Beanstalks campaign took root in midFebruary, when nearly 60 locations in the UK saw limited edition Beanstalk-shaped FSDUs sprout in store. Independent toy stores, Smyths and The Entertainer took part in the campaign. Each location received 48 Golden Mighty Beanz Slam Packs for lucky consumers to snap up. The event was accompanied by its own website, TV shout outs, digital pre-roll and YouTuber activation. Kathryn Ludlum, Character Options’ Brand Manager said: “This latest initiative
Can we look forward to any exciting marketing initiatives from Vivid this year? Outside of the more traditional TV and digital campaigns, there are some exciting new initiatives that we will bring to the UK that Goliath have shared from previous years’ successes. We are always looking for ways to cut through to reach our audiences, as our games span such a wide demographic, we have to think outside the box! will definitely add to the collectability of the brand!” Even before the locations were unveiled, tens of thousands of visits were made to the countdown page to see where the Golden Beanstalks would grow, and since their sprouting, traﬃc has more than doubled with more than 100,000 visits to the interactive Beanstalk Map.
Vivid is known for its strong, long-standing retail relationships – what’s the secret to your success? Our sales team has excellent relationships across the trade and a track record of delivering the right support to make sure every product and range has the best opportunity at retail. We continue to offer strong and innovative ranges across Toys, Games and Crayola so retailers know Vivid will always bring freshness to their consumer offering.
NEWS Skyrocket shoots across UK
TP turns 60 Mookie Toys is celebrating the 60th birthday of TP Toys. TP Toys started with a simple hula hoop in 1959 – 60 years later, TP toys are still designed in the UK by TP’s in-house product development team and it’s leading the way in outdoor play. To support the brand’s 60th birthday celebrations, TP Toys will be introducing a variety of new products, including a revolutionary and eye-catching, two-level trampoline, the TP Infinity Leap Trampoline.
US toymaker Skyrocket, best known for plush toys Pomsies, plans to expand its presence in the UK to support the fastpaced growth of the company’s brands in the region. As part of the move, Amy Saunders, previously with Bandai UK, has been appointed Skyrocket UK General Manager. The move is the latest in Skyrocket’s aggressive plan to widen its global footprint. Along with Pomsies, a Plush Toy of the Year nominee in 2018, Skyrocket also produces Grumblies interactive plush pets, and Sky Viper Drones. This year, Skyrocket is gearing up for the launch of
Blume, collectable ‘blooming’ dolls, and Pomsies Lumies, the next generation of Pomsies interactive pom-pom pets with a colourful and musical twist.
Did you know? TP Toys’ first product was a hula hoop.
LEGO builds on worldwide business LEGO is building on its worldwide operations, with new flagship stores in China and Australia and headquarters in Dubai. LEGO is to open a new flagship store in Sydney, offering interactive building experiences, customised products, an area for children’s parties and models of the city’s famous landmarks recreated in its signature bricks. The Beijing store features large-scale LEGO models showing the Great Wall and traditional Chinese-style sedan chairs, models of guardian lions and mosaics of guardian dragons. Customers will also have the chance to try the DragonLantern experience, building lanterns from LEGO bricks before seeing their creations magically float across digital screens. Meanwhile, in Dubai, LEGO has opened a new headquarters to cover the Middle East and North Africa.
Hasbro gets ethical accolade Hasbro has been named one of Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Companies 2019, an accolade it has received for the eighth year in a row. The toymaker is one of only three firms from the consumer products industry to receive the honour. Organisations named on this year’s list are said to profoundly illustrate how companies continue to be the driving force for improving communities, building capable and empowered workforces, and fostering corporate cultures focused on ethics and a strong sense of purpose. Hasbro has earned other awards for its ethical advocacy, including Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2018.
Toymaster goes down the garden path Toymaster has announced six new branches in garden centres across England. The centres have been taken over by Toymaster Member British Garden Centres. The locations are: Bold Heath Garden Centre, Widness; Bolton Garden Centre; Carr Gate Garden Centre, Wakefield; Coventry Garden Centre; Horncastle Garden Centre, Lincolnshire, and Leyland Garden Centre, Preston.
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NEWS Maxi Toys takes over Bart Smit Bart Smit toy stores in Belgium have been acquired by Maxi Toys. The 39 stores will be rebranded to the Maxi Toys brand, ensuring retention of both the stores and existing jobs. Both brands are former parts of the Blokker Holding. Maxi Toys is now owned by the Portuguese investment fund Green Swan, which also bought out the Portuguese and Spanish Toys R Us properties. Maxi Toys has stores in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Belgium. Alain Hellebaut, CEO of Maxi Toys, said: “Thanks to this takeover, we will be able to achieve national coverage in Belgium and become equally effective in all areas, in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. With a focus on customer experience, toys and multimedia, service, innovation and digitisation, we will offer our customers an innovative and future-oriented concept.”
Awards to celebrate design New awards will recognise the work of designers within the toy industry. The Play Creators Awards, which will be held on Monday 9 September at Under The Bridge (Chelsea FC), will focus on those in the toy and game design community that have excelled over the past 12 months. All kinds of design work is highlighted – whether it’s by an R&D team, a design agency or a freelance designer. Award categories are: Toy Designer of the Year Game Designer of the Year (Kids Games) Game Designer of the Year (Tabletop) R&D Team of the Year Invention Studio/Design Agency of the Year Toy Designer of the Year (Licensed Product) Game Designer of the Year (Licensed Product) Play Innovator of the Year Rising Star Design Icon Nominations close on 6 May and finalists will be announced in June. You can make a nomination at www.playcreatorsawards.com
Spin on the runway Spin Master’s Off the Hook Dolls joined London’s most glamorous ‘Mini Fashionistas’ backstage in the buyers’ lounge at last month’s prestigious Mini Mode event in Marylebone. Attendees and models enjoyed creating stylish outfits and ‘walking’ with the new collectable fashion doll range, and lucky VIP visitors received a doll in their Mini Mode goodie bag. Off the Hook also enjoyed a successful Twitter Party during the runway show, which saw around six million timeline deliveries throughout the hour-long event where top mum bloggers discussed the doll range and posted pictures of their children’s Off the Hook fashion creativity. Charlotte Yates, Marketing Manager, Spin Master UK said: “We were thrilled at how well received Off the Hook was by arguably the UK’s most stylish youngsters!” With more than 30 different looks from the six mannequin dolls and more than 175 individual fashions and accessories, children aged five plus will have hours of inspiration and fun creating unique fashion styles from head to toe.
Playmobil sets sail with V&A exhibition Young visitors to the V&A Museum of Childhood’s A Pirate’s Life for Me exhibition have the chance to win a Playmobil Pirate Raiders’ Ship. The deluxe floating model lets kids fire the cannon at their enemies to evade capture, and they can also upgrade the vessel with an underwater motor. The competition – promoted in the Bethnal Green museum and on its social media channels – is part of Playmobil’s sponsorship of the museum’s A Pirate’s Life for Me exhibition, which closes on 22 April. It also saw the museum give away free Playmobil pirate hats and activity sheets throughout February half-term week.
Take the challenge The Toy Trust’s 2019 Big Challenge fundraising day for summer 2019 has been confirmed for Saturday 8 June. Large teams, small groups and individual participants are all eligible to take part, with events on offer including a triathlon, which will feature an open water swim, a 65-mile circular bike ride and a 5km or 10km run or walk – each stage with a variety of difficulty levels to ensure as many people can take part as would like to.
The exhibition was developed in collaboration with children and allows them to explore the world of pirates through toys, games, original costumes, books and comics over the past 300 years. The exhibition has seen Playmobil display its pirate collection, which is suitable for children from 18 months, including the Pirate’s Treasure Island,
The event will be held at the Oxford Wet N Wild aqua park, which also gives participants the chance to take on the inflatable assault course. The fundraiser will culminate with a late afternoon barbecue. The three charities benefiting from the event are: UK mobility charity My AFK; health camp provider Over The Wall; and Ugandanbased educational charity Ecologia Youth Trust. For more information contact the BTHA’s Matt Jones at matt@ btha.co.uk or visit www.toytrust.co.uk.
New York Toy Award Winners:
Funko goes to Hollywood Funko is hoping to turn its pop-culture collectables into a tourist attraction with the opening of a new retail store in the heart of Hollywood – it is set to open later this year. Set to be a draw for LA’s 50 million annual tourists and taking up a 40,000 sq.ft of prime space on Hollywood Boulevard, Funko’s second retail location will sell a wide variety of licensed toys, novelties and accessories from across its best-selling brands. “It was a no-brainer to open our second
retail location in the television and ﬁlm mecca of the world – Hollywood,” says Brian Mariotti, Chief Executive Ofﬁcer at Funko. “We couldn’t be more excited to have a presence among the most inﬂuential production studios and creative talent delivering pop culture content.” The ﬁrst Funko store opened in 2017 at its Washington headquarters. Originally opened for mega-fans, the store has become a hugely popular destination for collectors, pop-culture enthusiasts and entertainment afﬁcianados.
European expansion The Insights People, the award-winning research company behind Kids Insights and Parents Insights, have expanded into Europe boosted by a raft of new client wins in the US and the UK. Nick Richardson, CEO, The Insights People, says: “Based on demand from our customers, we are delighted to announce that we are now launching Kids Insights in Germany, France, Spain and Italy, where we will be providing organisations with access to the most comprehensive and dynamic market intelligence on kids, tweens and teens in real-time. The company has made three new hires: Tim Burge as Research & Trends Director, Penny Wolfe will coordinate operations, and Martin Felando joins Kids Insights US as Account Director.
Tobar buys Kit for Kids Toy supplier Tobar International has rescued Kit for Kids from insolvency and taken a step into the kids’ education market. Kit for Kids is a market leader in the core education market but recently fell into administration due to “unrelated issues”. The company retains major clients in the education business, of which it is a market leader in many categories, including carpets. Other major segments include soft play and furniture, which Kit for Kids supplies to schools, nurseries and other educational institutions. “This is a great opportunity for Tobar to expand into the education market and is a natural progression for us,” says David Mordecai (pictured), CEO of Tobar. “Our ﬁrst task will be to ensure that Kit for Kids is in the best condition to continue to supply and support their core customers with the products they want.” Kit for Kids will remain a separate brand, run from Kent base by the existing team.
Action Figure of the Year: Mattel Jurassic World Dinosaur Action Figures, Mattel Collectable of the Year: LEGO Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Minifigure Series, LEGO Construction Toy of the Year: LEGO Harry Potter Great Hall, LEGO Creative Toy of the Year: Cool Maker KumiKreator, Spin Master Doll of the Year: L.O.L. Surprise! Eye Spy Under Wraps, MGA Entertainment Game of the Year: Disney Villainous Game by Wonder Forge, Ravensburger Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Learning Home, Mattel Innovative Toy of the Year: Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set, Learning Resources License of the Year: L.O.L. Surprise!, MGA Entertainment Outdoor Toy of the Year: Glove-A-Bubbles, ZingPlayset Toy of the Year (tie): LEGO Creator Expert Roller Coaster, LEGO and L.O.L. Surprise! House, MGA Entertainment Plush of the Year (tie): Scruff-A-Luvs, Moose Toys and Star Wars Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie, Hasbro Preschool Toy of the Year: Fisher-Price Think & Learn Rocktopus, Mattel Rookie of the Year: Ollyball - The Ultimate Indoor Play Ball!, VICTURY Sports Specialty Toy of the Year: LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle, LEGO Tech Toy of the Year: Arcade1Up, Tastemakers LLC Vehicle of the Year: PAW Patrol Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck, Spin Master & Nickelodeon
THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT, THE FUTURE IS... TnP speaks with Steve Pasierb, CEO, The Toy Association, about opportunities for innovation and the all-important toy trends for 2019
Did you know… In a new age of competitiveness, with fewer retailers to choose from, retail buyers are looking for new ways to capture the attention of consumers. Never has it been more important to win new customers, and there is no better way to do this than with new/novel products to capture their attention. This year, companies are extending all product life. Consider MGA Entertainment; it has taken its awardwinning products from last year, such as L.O.L. Surprise!, and added new adaptations to the range for 2019. It’s doing something different in the collectables category and looking for new ways to explore the unboxing trend. Suppliers are coming up with new play patterns, introducing new ways to enjoy the unboxing craze. And collectables are being designed not just to be collected, but also to ensure the trend remains hot! Across the board, suppliers are keeping things fresh. People have had their concerns about the popularity of video games, but Fortnite is certainly not hurting the toy industry! This year we’re seeing a lot of innovative licensed toys – not just from video games, but also many toys and games that have been inspired by the big box office releases of 2019 from Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, and more. The Toy Association met with
In the UK, the BTHA can advise you on how to protect your IP and prevent counterfeits. The Toy Association’s White Paper: The Real Threat of Fake Toys, is also worth a read (www. toyassociation.org). It highlights three factors affecting the rise in counterfeit and knockoff toys and suggests ways to tackle the problem.
hundreds of global toy companies throughout the year to track the latest developments in toys and youth entertainment. We revealed our findings during New York Toy Fair. Ken Seiter, Executive VP of Marketing Communications, The Toy Association says: “The findings for top trends this year reflect a continued demand for toys that include a surprise element, toys that tap into nostalgia, playthings that encourage kids to try out different activities and explore new worlds, and unique licensed-based toys that enhance developmental skills through play.” The six top trends for 2019 are:
Never has it been more important to win new customers, and there is no better way to do this than with new/novel products to capture their attention Unboxing 2.0
Kids love the surprise element of unwrapping a toy and enjoy searching for rare or limited-edition versions. The trend goes to a whole new level in 2019 with added play patterns and features that make unwrapping the toy part of the play through a secret decoder or packaging that transforms into storage or playsets.
Top Toy Trends: Unboxing 2.0 Compound Crazy: Dough, Slime, Sand and More Throwback Toys Foodie Fun Inspirational and Aspirational Play Explosive Entertainment!
Creative and reusable compounds, such as slime, kinetic sand, dough and putty are popular not only on their own, but also within the unboxing trend, where compounds are being seen as another layer kids have to dig through to get to the prize. Creative play, which compounds encourage, motivates kids to think outside the box.
Throwback Toys This year will usher in big anniversaries for some of the entertainment world’s most beloved characters and movies, as well as iconic toys and games that will ignite a wave of nostalgia for parents and
grandparents. Parents are looking to share toys and characters that played a big part of their childhoods with their own kids; this will include classic low-tech playthings.
Foodie Fun Food and drink items have made their way into the toy aisle. This is a reflection of the strong priority that millennial parents have placed on being health conscious and aware of where their food is sourced. Both girls and boys are equally interested in toys and games that reflect the foodie culture. Scented toys have also become a must-have item for kids.
Inspirational & Aspirational Play There is a growing trend of toys, games, and activities that prepare and inspire kids for the future. Toys play a crucial role in teaching STEAM concepts by helping develop these necessary skills and competencies through play. Toys can also motivate kids to get excited about new areas, make mistakes without fear, and encourage collaboration among peers.
Explosive Entertainment! In 2019, the entertainment industry has a number of family-friendly movies sure to delight the kid in all of us. It should also be a busy year for licensed toys and games. These playthings continue to be enhanced – infusing popular licensed properties in all types of products from plush to playsets to tech toys.
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NEWS Keiran Peoples
New trio for HTI HTI Group is strengthening its pocket money team with the appointment of three new members. Keiran Peoples re-joins HTI as Senior Commercial Manager and will be responsible for driving pocket money sales, as well as assisting the Divisional Director with a number of commercial responsibilities. Keiran previously worked for HTI for 13 years and returns to the business with a further three years’ experience in the wider industry. Daniel McLoughlin will be re-joining the business this month based in HTI’s Hong Kong office to attain responsibility of HTI’s Pocket Money supply chain and will take the lead on facilitating and driving the delivery of numerous category launches. Daniel has extensive experience within the toy industry and previously worked at HTI until 2015. Marc Newell will bolster the UK-based design team, with more than six years of experience in graphic design.
New board members join US Toy Association Four new members have been elected to the US Toy Association board of directors. The new board members will serve a two-year term, working alongside current executives of the board to promote the interests of the toy industry. They are: John Frascotti, President and COO, Hasbro; Aaron Muderick, president, Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld; Michael Rinzler, CoPresident and Founding Partner, Wicked Cool Toys; and Steve Totzke, Chief Commercial Officer, Mattel. Bob Wann, Chairman of The Toy Association and Chief Play Monster of PlayMonster, says: “This is a time of great change and opportunity for our members. I look forward to hearing the diverse perspectives and contributions from our new representatives on how the association can continue to innovate and successfully operate in a global toy landscape.” Toy Association President and CEO Steve Pasierb says: “A deep note of gratitude to our departing Board Members who have selflessly donated their time, ensuring The Toy Association thrives as a strong, productive global organisation.”
John Adams boosts sales team John Adams Leisure has welcomed two new starters to strengthen its growing team. Walter Cummins has joined John Adams as the new sales agent for Ireland. Walter has a wealth of experience within the toys and giftware sector. Previously he worked as a sales rep selling non-food lines to the supermarket trade and has been an agent for the past 11 years selling toys and souvenirs, covering Northern and Southern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Joining the UK domestic team as Key Accounts and New Business Development Manager is Callum Townsend. Callum has been working at John Adams for more than three years, as a part of the Intex customer care team and has proven himself to be a great asset. Sales Director, Bruno Gallone, says: “We are delighted to welcome Walter and Callum to the John Adams sales team. We have a strong selection of exciting new products and brands coming in 2019 and the sales team will be instrumental in helping us bring these to market. The latest appointments highlight John Adams’ commitment to the UK and Irish markets.”
Pair skip and hop on board Skip Hop, the lifestyle brand for families with young children, has announced two new recruits to its UK headquarters. Faye Anderson (pictured left) comes on board as Marketing Associate and
has a background in digital media campaigns, eCommerce and website management. She will be responsible for Skip Hop UK’s social media channels, e-marketing, and will assist on all general marketing activities. Skip Hop has brought in Suzanne Hayward as UK Finance Manager. Suzanne was previously responsible for the financial accounting across Europe for a publicly-owned, global manufacturing company based in the UK. Gemma Stokes, UK Marketing Manager, says: “We welcome both to the Skip Hop family, as we set to accelerate our business goals in 2019.”
New boss for BR toys The new head of Dutch toy chain BR has announced the location of 15 new stores just days after her appointment. Charlotte From was promoted from within Salling Group to oversee the group’s new toy business. Salling acquired the BR toys brand and inventory in January, after its former operator Top-Toy went into liquidation. The group plans to bring BR, a household name in Denmark, back to the forefront of toy retail. Set to open in spring, five stores will be in Copenhagen and 10 in cities across Denmark.
Duggee picks up awards Teaming up to stream The BBC and ITV have teamed up to launch a joint streaming service called BritBox, which will include a ‘best of British’ offering including box sets and exclusive original programming. The two TV giants are in final talks to firm up details. Billed as the biggest collection of British content available on any streaming service, BritBox will offer popular series from the BBC and ITV’s archives, alongside original content from both networks. It will not replace catch up services such as iPlayer and ITV Hub. The streaming service is set to launch later this year, just as Disney plans to roll out Disney+, Apple looks to evolve its marketplace and WarnerMedia gears up for the launch of its rival OTT service.
Gund signs first Hilda deal Spin Master’s plush label Gund will be the first licensing partner for Silvergate Media’s animated series, Hilda. Gund will develop a range of plush, accessories and giftware aimed at girls and teenage fans, and inspired by the unique style of the Netflix series.
The range is set to hit US stores in early 2020, before rolling out to additional markets. The series, which launched in autumn 2018, cleaned up at the 2019 Annie Awards, where it was the most-awarded TV series of the evening, scooping Best Animated TV Production for Children, Best Character Animation and Best Writing for an Animated TV/ Broadcast Production. Hilda is an animated series that follows the adventures of a fearless blue-haired girl as she travels from her home in a vast magical wilderness full of elves and giants, to the bustling city of Trolberg, where she meets new friends.
Pre-school animation Hey Duggee has won two awards at the Kidscreen Summit in Miami. The show, from BBC Studios, CBeebies UK and Studio AKA, won Best Animated Series in the Preschool category and Best Learning App in the Branded category for its educational game Hey Duggee: The Counting Badge. Last year Hey Duggee won Best Game App in the Branded category, for the Hey Duggee: We Love Animals App. Hey Duggee inspires children to have a go, work as a team and earn badges along the way. Series three is due to air on CBeebies in Spring 2019.
Purr-fect fun Funrise has unveiled its upcoming toy line based on its new animated series, Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty, at Toy Fair New York. Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty centres around a spirited and adorable kitty named Felicity who acquires magical and majestic powers. Part rainbow, part butterfly, part unicorn and 100 per cent kitty, Felicity can shoot glow sticks from her paws, lasers from her horn, stretch and snap in rainbow mode, and clap thunderously with her butterfly wings. The toy line includes innovative roleplay toys, toys with surprise reveals, collectable bobble head figures, action figures and playsets, plush and more, and will launch at major retailers this autumn.
Guiding stars Marbel has announced two new brands in its 2019 portfolio – Eureka Kids and Nebulous Star. Offering mindfulness for tweens aged seven years plus, Nebulous Stars offers artistic activities to encourage the use of calming practices. The Nebulous World aims to counteract a world of technology, encouraging children to express their creativity. 16
New toys include:
Oversized Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty Action Power Paws with motion-activated sounds and light up rainbow claws, and Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty 9 Lives Surprise Assortment – unboxing fun revealing a multi-level mini-playset.
Smart consumers, smarter advertisers I
n an age where we’re consistently consuming advertising more than ever before, we’ve become smarter and increasingly savvy to what we’re consuming and how we’re consuming it. As most marketers in the toys and games industry will be aware, children’s viewing of all TV saw a decline of 10 per cent last year. When we look at the all-important kids' commercial channels, this was even greater, with a 17 per cent decline in total children's equivalent impacts in 2018 as compared with 2017. In fact, in the most demanding months of the year, children’s viewing was down 17 per cent YoY in October and November was down nine per cent. Regardless of these declines, children’s toys and games advertisers continued to invest in linear TV en masse, albeit to lower levels than in previous years, with 88 advertisers running 727 campaigns in 2018.
watching. While Sky AdSmart gives advertisers the confidence of reaching their desire target, the buying route is of course less cost-efficient than reaching audiences viewing across kids' commercial channels. Unfortunately, Sky AdSmart is yet to extend this route to the kids’ commercial channels, but it can include channels where we know families As declines are co-watching content, such as Sky Disney Cinema. While it’s yet to be across the kids’ seen if and when inventory on the kids’ commercial commercial stations will be accessible, a whole host of VOD services are available stations to advertisers. continue, As of this month, Nickelodeon has reopened inventory on its on-screen advertisers offering through its VOD platform. This are looking offering had previously been paused after While kids’ commercial TV still delivers for other AV the GDPR legislation came into effect last unrivalled coverage points, advertisers are May. Of course, this is not the only VOD (audio/video) looking to other on-screen AV solutions in order platform available to advertisers, with to extend the reach of campaigns. One example solutions to children’s content now available through of this is using family films (for example, ITV2/ showcase their other media owners such as Virgin C4) to target family co-viewing opportunities Media, and the new and upcoming products in the run up to Christmas. These co-viewing Red Media’s ‘Ketchup TV’. opportunities were adopted in abundance Ketchup TV drives premium video via both in 2018, alongside other attempts to smartly reach traditional ‘free to air’ broadcast platforms and audiences on screen. One that is particularly smart – as mobile/TV apps. Made up of largely pre-school content is it states in the name – is Sky AdSmart. such as Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder and Peppa Pig, Sky AdSmart uses the information from Sky set-top Ketchup TV can reach just shy of half a million unique boxes to deliver specifically tailored ads to a chosen users a month. Similarly to Sky AdSmart, Ketchup TV target audience. The technology uses an algorithm to offers quality advertising in uncluttered environments take account of the projected linear audience to help to give your brands a stand-out message. enhance its targeting within a household. What this With TVs becoming smarter and audiences means is that different ads can be served to different navigating the space better than ever, and households even though they’re both watching the as traditional TV channels continue to same programme. experience declines, advertisers need AdSmart works to consider smart solutions as part of in the reverse of their media mix. traditional forms of If you’d like advice or guidance advertising – it 88 toys and games TV on how Generation Media can essentially finds the help strategise your media advertisers ran 727 audience, and then investment, please contact us on: the ad within email@example.com campaigns in 2018. delivers the content they’re 0207 307 7900
Now, more than ever, advertisers are choosing to broaden their AV mix. Kate Moncur, Generation Media, explores this trend and considers how toys and games advertisers can best invest advertising budgets in the current viewing climate
Generation Media is the UK and Ireland’s largest independent media buyer of toys and games advertising. Visit generationmedia.co.uk or call 0207 307 7900 to learn more.
Movie Diary 2019... March • •
Captain Marvel Dumbo
Third time lucky for Dragons
April • • •
Peppa Pig Festival of Fun Penguins Avengers: Endgame
May • • • •
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu Aladdin Coconut the Little Dragon The Secret Life of Pets 2
June • •
X-Men: Dark Phoenix Toy Story 4
Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, has beaten its predecessors with its opening box office figures. The third instalment in the franchise made £5.3m over its first weekend, compared with the original, which made £4.8m in April 2010 and its sequel, which hit £2.6m in June 2016.
Did you know? The Lego Movie 2 kept both How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and Mark Wahlberg’s Instant Family off the top spot in the box office ratings.
July • • •
Spider-Man: Far From Home The Lion King Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans
August • • •
Playmobil: The Movie Artemis Fowl Dora the Explorer
October • •
Angry Birds 2 The Addams Family
December • • • • •
Bing at Christmas Jumanji 3 Star Wars: Episode IX Masters of the Universe Sonic the Hedgehog
Catch ’em all in the cinema A live-action movie starring Pokémon’s most recognisable creature Pikachu is set to hit UK cinemas this May. With the main character voiced by Ryan Reynolds (best known for playing Marvel’s Deadpool), the film is based on the 2016 Pokémon video game Great Detective Pikachu. The plot centres on a child looking for his missing father. Crime solver Pikachu comes to the rescue, helped by a journalist played by Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies). Newfound interest in the Pokémon franchise was piqued by the huge success of the mobile app Pokémon Go in 2016, which led to a bidding war for the franchise’s film rights.
Disney diary dates Disney has revealed more than 30 movie release dates for the next five years. Titles include an Indiana Jones sequel slated for 2021 – Harrison Ford will appear, and Steven Spielberg will be in the director’s chair again. Angelina Jolie will star again as muchmaligned and misunderstood Maleficent in a sequel due for release in 2020. 2020 also sees Chris Pratt feature in Onward, a tale of two teenage elves who set off on a mission to find out if there is any magic left. More animations are getting the live-action treatment, including Mulan in 2020. In 2021 five live action films are set to be released, with only two animations on the cards for that year. And action film fans will be happy that five more Marvel movies have been lined up for the next five years. Movies due for release in 2019 include the live-action version of Dumbo and Captain Marvel in March, Disneynature’s Penguins and the final instalment in the Avengers franchise – Avengers: Endgame in April, a live-action Aladdin, with Will Smith featuring as the Genie in May, Toy Story 4 and The Lion King in June. Last but not least, Episode 9 of Star Wars and Frozen 2 are due to hit the big screen in December.
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Disney announces double date 4 October
Triple Force Friday
Fans of two of the most anticipated films of 2019 – Star Wars: Episode IX and Disney’s Frozen 2 – can begin counting down to 4 October, when Disney launches new products inspired by both movies. The event will be Disney’s firstever, global simultaneous rollout for two entertainment juggernauts, and retailers around the world are expected to respond with special events and celebrations.
For Star Wars, Disney has designated 4 October Triple Force Friday. A day of events will celebrate the launch of a whole range of new products tied to three Star Wars properties: Star Wars: Episode IX; the first-ever Star Wars live-action series, The Mandalorian, set to debut exclusively on upcoming streaming service Disney+; and new video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, releasing in late 2019.
Mattel signs Minions The Minions have found a new home at Mattel, which has signed a three-year deal with Universal Brand Development to create toys based on the Despicable Me franchise. Release date for Minions Mattel will create a full range of toys based on Illumination Entertainment’s blockbuster animation, covering dolls, playsets, role-play and accessories, action figures, games, plush, vehicles and RC. The licence covers North America, as well as a number of key international markets. Toys will be launched to coincide with Minions 2, Illumination’s 2020 follow-up to the Minions movie, due in cinemas in July 2020.
L.O.L’s on board Hasbro has joined forces with MGA to launch Monopoly: L.O.L. Surprise! edition for AW19. For children aged eight years plus, the game sees players buy, sell, and swap other players’ Dolls shown on the game board, rather than properties and locations. Surprise! cards replace Chance cards, Stars and Emojis replace houses and hotels, and the tokens are authentic L.O.L. Surprise! Doll accessories.
Magic game for muggles! The new Wizarding World edition of the phenomenally popular Dobble will see Harry Potter fans trying to spot the single matching image between two cards in this battle of speedy observation. “Harry Potter Dobble brings together a top gaming brand with a superb licence,” says Asmodee UK’s Ben Hogg. “We are confident that it will be a big hit with fans of both properties.” The game is set to launch at retail in summer 2019.
Audio stars Following its successful UK launch last year, Tonies – the audio system for kids – is adding licensed characters to its range. The newest additions come from the much-loved books written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, including the loveable Zog, The Highway Rat, and the friendly witch from Room on the Broom, who is sure to cast a spell over playtime.
Guess What… 20
The new Tonie characters are created by The Gruffalo author and illustrator.
Change is gonna come Kids Insights looks at some of the major changes in the industry over the year and predicts some of the trends to watch out for in 2019
e saw many changes in 2018 and the number of content and leisure options for children continued to increase. Children have more content options across gaming, social media, TV, informal streaming platforms, such as YouTube, and formal-streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon. Netflix is now watched by 56 per cent of all children – a quarter more than 18 months ago, when it was watched by 45 per cent. New platforms are appearing too, providing even more ways for kids to spend their leisure time. One new brand is the short-form-video app, TikTok, which is popular with girls aged 10 to 12, with seven per cent (105,000) of girls this age installing the app. This choice is creating competition for toy producers; it also presents another problem, as they must now respond to the countless new trends that are emerging faster than ever before.
sales of many products were down with nine to 12-year-olds, who are the biggest owners of licensed products. Within this age group, there was a 13 per cent reduction in toys. Christmas provided a small recovery in this area. Video games bucked the trend slightly to report a growth of one per cent.
Last year’s top toys for boys & girls LEGO continues to be a firm boys’ favourite. A third of boys aged four to six say it’s their top toy (a rise of 13 per cent since the start of 2018). A quarter of boys aged seven to nine say it is their favourite. According to data in Parents Insights, 74 per cent of new parents are now millennials. These parents are driving two conflicting key trends; LEGO has capitalised on both. They are comfortable with robotic and tech toys, but they also want their children to cut down on screen time and play with educational toys.
A rapidly changing time for toy retail and licensing The UK toy industry changed with the closure of Toys R Us. Despite some reports that consumers have been slow to find new places to shop, our data shows a different story for children. Our data shows Smyths almost doubled in popularity with four to 12-year-olds last year, from 4.9 per cent to 9.5 per cent. The Entertainer tripled in popularity over the same time period. 3.7 per cent of children now consider it their favourite store, compared with last year’s 0.8 per cent. Meanwhile, 2018 was a challenging time for licensing. TV-related products did not fare well. Our data shows
For girls, L.O.L. Surprise Dolls were the biggest toys of 2018. The dolls were inspired by the craze for unboxing videos; our data shows they were most popular with girls aged six in 2018, with 11.2 per cent naming it as a favourite toy.
Fact! Smyths almost doubled in popularity with four- to 12-year-olds last year and The Entertainer tripled in popularity over the same time. But our data shows it is currently the favourite online store with a third of kids aged four to 12. Over the Christmas period, Amazon was the most popular online retailer for four to 12-year-olds, with four times more children naming Amazon (35 per cent) as their favourite rather than eBay (8.2 per cent). In late 2018, it emerged that Amazon is set to produce its own private-label toys, so it will be interesting to see how that affects the marketplace. Tech toys are another trend to watch this year. This generation has grown up with technology and they love toys that are connected to the internet or powered by apps. We expect this to continue, with more manufacturers using Augmented Reality (AR) technology and enabling interactive experiences between the digital and physical world. A new disruptor could even break through by utilising new technologies, such as AR or 3D printing. One final trend to keep an eye on in 2019 is the continued pressure on brands to minimise their impact on the environment. LEGO has been quick to respond to this by developing sustainable bricks made from sugarcane. For more information on Kids Insights, a sample report and a demo of our award-winning portal, visit: kidsinsights.co.uk/toysnplaythings or call the team on 0330 159 6631
The Legend of LEGO
Where could we be heading in 2019? Amazon is forecast to be the biggest toy retailer by 2020.
One third of boys aged four to six say LEGO is their top toy One quarter of boys aged seven to nine name LEGO as their favourite toy.
Kids Insights specialises in research and insights on kids and their ecosystems. We survey 400 kids, tweens and teens every single week and our real-time portal is continually updated to allow our clients to spot the latest trends before their competitors. Our insight-led reports are produced by some of the top kids’ researchers in the UK and have seen us short-listed for a number of start-up and innovation awards.
Tel: 01483 449944 www.vividtoysandgames.co.uk Â© 2019 Vivid Toy Group Ltd.
S R O D A S S A AMB
Making a splatt! M Making modelling dough even more fun is Kersplatt! from Paul Lamond Games, as Poppy and Herbie discovered. Dad Paul tells us more…
s y a s e i Herb
When playing bpard games with younger kids, making the start of the game fun is half the battle. Any whiff of having to spend time reading rules and they’re usually long gone. But imagine if even choosing your game THE pieces was fun! S I S I TH Paul Lamond has found the perfect answer with E M A BEST G Kersplatt! Included are four tubs of different coloured modelling dough. You use these to make your own EVER! , AGED 6 E counters, before starting the game. HERBI The aim of the game is to make your way around the board without being Kersplatted. This happens when an opponent draws a Kersplatt card – they can either choose to move to their nearest square or, more likely, get to squash your playing piece. The kids loved this game because it gave them a chance to beat their parents! And the good news is that you’re not out of the game once you get Kersplatted – there’s nothing worse than one kid sulking in the corner because they can’t play any more! No, you just leave the splatted piece on its square and make a new one and start again. Any square that is home to a squashed piece is out of the game, which makes the game faster. Kersplatt! Is aimed at ages six and over, and it’s a pretty fast-running game, which makes it ideal if Contact you have younger ones who won’t sit still for too long. The promise of getting the chance to splatt Paul Lamond Games other players’ pieces adds an added element of anarchy that particularly appeals! 020 7254 0100 Often when we get a new game, the kids will play it a couple of times and then forget about it, but www.paul–lamond.com Kersplatt has become a firm favourite in our house – which is high praise indeed!
Not to be sniffed at! There’s ping-pong and beer pong, but Arron and his family had fun with a different kind of pong when they played WowWee’s What’s That Smell, as his mum Naomi explains We had great fun over Christmas challenging players of all ages to a jellybean Russian roulette game, where your chosen bean could be a pleasant flavour such as lemon, or something pretty repulsive, such as rotten cheese. What’s That Smell is the olfactory version of that game – gather together some brave players (you can play with between two and six people) and start sniffing and guessing what the whiff is. Each player has a mystery card, and a cardboard scraper to rub THE F across it to release the smell. The O E SOM E timer is set and you sniff your card, R A S SMELL guessing what the odour is. Write Y REALL ING! THIS it down on your scorecard before T REVOL ME MY moving on to the next one. A G LD IS A U While there are some nice smells, O W S
s: y a s n Arro
Fact! There are 50 different smells on the cards in the box.
such as cut grass, be aware that you could well be snorting up less pleasant pongs too! At the end of the round, the player who has been most successful gets to choose someone to smell one of four truly revolting cards – such as Old Toe Cheese or BO. If you want to prolong their agony, capture their reaction in slow motion using the What’s That Smell app. It’s not always easy to get a pre-teen to join in with a board game, but Arron enjoyed this game – not only was he better at it (younger senses are obviously better at identifying aromas than older ones!) – but he enjoyed the grossness of the game too. You wouldn’t want to play for too long as the cards are quite strongly scented and you lose your ability to smell anything after a while, but for a party of pre-teens Jazwares or teens, or a family party of mixed 020 3598 0270 ages, this is a great icebreaker.
I N T RO D U C I N G
Dog canâ€™t wait to play!
A fun group of collectible animal friends who
wobble and bounce, roll and zoom around their interactive play set environments
llect! o c o t 4 2 r e v O
FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT 01235 555545 OR EMAIL TRADE_SALES@VTECH.COM
Sainsbury’s hits back against merger claims Sainsbury’s boss has hit back at the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) report on the supermarket’s merger with Asda, calling its findings ‘’fundamentally flawed’’. Mike Coupe said the company would be making “very strong representations” to the CMA about its “inaccuracy and lack of objectivity”. The CMA, the UK’s competition watchdog,
“Combining Sainsbury’s and Asda would create significant cost savings, and lower prices. Despite the savings being reviewed by two separate industry specialists, the CMA has chosen to discount them as benefits.’’
said that a merger of the two supermarkets could lead to less choice and higher prices for the consumer. It added that unless these issues could be addressed then it could force the sale of a number of stores, block one of the brands or even block the deal completely. In a joint statement, the two supermarkets said: “These findings fundamentally
misunderstand how people shop in the UK today and the intensity of competition in the grocery market. The CMA has moved the goalposts and its analysis is inconsistent with comparable cases. “Combining Sainsbury’s and Asda would create significant cost savings, which would allow us to lower prices. Despite the savings being independently reviewed by two separate industry specialists, the CMA has chosen to discount them as benefits.’’ Asda sales have enjoyed positive growth for the seventh quarter in a row, as the Walmart-owned grocery giant awaits the next stage in its proposed merger with Sainsbury’s. Asda has reported growth for the seventh quarter in a row. For the fourth quarter period ending December 31, Asda reported that its like-for-like sales grew one per cent year-on-year.
BR Toys to open new stores
Emmet takes over! Emmet and Lucy took over the front of a Smyths Toy Store at Staples Corner Retail Park to mark the awesome launch of the LEGO Movie 2. Smyths Toys also had an exclusive TVC for Smyths Toys for its LEGO brand campaign Where LEGO Lives, which featured on the retailer’s YouTube channel as well as social media – views of the video hit 1.7million within a week. On 16 February, Smyths Toys hosted a LEGO Movie 2 event across all stores in the UK and Ireland. Smyths Toys Joint Head of Marketing Sinead Byrne said: ‘‘We are delighted to partner with LEGO for the awesome LEGO Movie 2 launch and to showcase the range of LEGO available for kids in-store, with our exclusive TV campaign, building takeover and our national event.”
BR Toys, which was saved from liquidation earlier this month, is to open 25 stores under new owner Salling Group. The Danish retail group, which also operates a fleet of supermarkets and department stores, says it aims to open around 25 new locations to serve local consumers and strengthen the health of toys at bricks and mortar retail. A strong online presence will also be a key part of the BR revival, but Per Bank, CEO of Salling Group, stresses that “it is very important to us that children can still have good experiences with toys in physical stores”.
Liverpool retail expansion Smyths Toys is set to open in the expanded Liverpool Shopping Park. Plans for the expansion, which is expected to create as many as 885 new jobs, have been approved by Liverpool City Council. The scheme will offer 145,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, on the back of a £30 million investment by owners The Derwent Group. Along with a 60,000sq ft anchor retail store, the expansion will include 16 other retail units, a gym, cinema, ten-pin bowling alley, and five restaurants. This second phase is expected to open in autumn 2020.
Entertainer makes top 100
The Entertainer has ranked 49th in the Sunday Times Best 100 Mid Companies 2019. The retailer has climbed 20 places since last year, a rise explained by the company’s involvement in charitable activities such as Payroll Giving, the access that employees have to the board of directors, and training modules that link to pay increases. Other perks of working at The Entertainer include a competitive holiday allowance, strong maternity leave offering, and designated social space called ‘The Lunchbox’ where staff can relax and enjoy lunch together. In addition, the company has
extended stress and resilience training to managers at Head Office to help build awareness and give managers more capacity to deal with emotional illness and mental health issues. Gary Grant (below), Founder and Managing Director of The Entertainer, says, “It’s hugely important for us that our employees enjoy working for The Entertainer, which is why we continually review how we can improve their experience by responding to feedback and introducing new initiatives where possible.’’
Argos beats Amazon in game sales growth
Hamleys’ film fun Hamleys’ flagship Regent Street store was transformed into a giant playground of fun over half-term. Celebrating some of this year’s biggest movie releases, kids got the chance to meet characters from The LEGO Movie 2, and join in with LEGO Building Workshops. Dragon fans could dress up as a Viking and have their picture taken with Astrid and Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. Other activities included Scalextric time trial racing; Quidditch Training and a Sorting Hat ceremony; and the chance to challenge Hamleys’ Board Game Expert. Live entertainment included fingerpopping puppet shows, Story Time sessions and LEGO Brick and Fortnite dance sessions. Plus, there was a daily parade.
Toymaster marks Barbie’s birthday Toymaster has partnered with Mattel for its latest window display. Celebrating Barbie’s 60th anniversary with a ‘You Can Be Anything’ campaign, which highlights to Barbie fans that they can choose any career path they wish, be it Doctor, Astronaut, Baker or even Fashionista! Toymaster will also be promoting Barbie on its consumer website and on social media during March. Participating Toymaster stores will be supporting the window with a free gift when customers spend over £30 on Barbie Berkshire’s Woodley in-store.
News has recently joined the Toymaster buying group.
Argos and Game beat online giant Amazon in terms of growth for physical entertainment market shares. The figures come from the latest research from Kantar Worldpanel, which suggests that the two stores’ gains came from a loss of sales by supermarkets – down from 61.5 per cent to 49.7 per cent for the past year. Giulia Barresi, consumer specialist at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Consumers really value the trend-led up-to-the minute offer which specialists provide, and supermarkets need to find a way to replicate this feeling. Entertainment aisles that don’t feel completely up to speed with the hottest new releases won’t attract footfall.’’ The major success story for the period was epic Western adventure Red Dead Redemption 2. The long-awaited sequel accounted for 21% of sales online and in store. Barresi said: “More than half a million shoppers gave the game as a gift over Christmas, and the big price tag meant it made a substantial contribution to the market in the past three months.”
DANIEL DEPARTMENT STORE
Bringing b to life From welcoming royal customers to bagging Department Store Retailer of the Year for the second time at the Toy Industry Awards, it’s been a stellar 12 months for Windsor’s historic Daniel store. Sarah Welsh spoke to toy buyer Warren Du Preez to ﬁnd out more…
hen it comes to a toy kingdom that has been capturing children’s imagination for more than a century, you need look no further than Windsor’s iconic Daniel Department Store. Generations of families have shopped at the Peascod Street store, marvelled at its enticing displays of toys and games, been drawn in by the ingenious props and methods it uses to bring product and entire brands to life, learnt from the knowledgeable staff and left with a smile on their face and a bagful of joy. There’s something hugely special about a family business that embraces its proud history and heritage at the same time as being ahead of the pack when it comes to industry-leading displays that competitors have to see for themselves, and expert at working in collaboration with toy brands to help
elevate them to a different level. Right at the heart of this tremendous toy success story is buyer Warren Du Preez, who first joined Daniel at the age of 16 as a Saturday sales assistant. But as Warren says, in an industry that’s constantly changing and surprising you, so is the job!
At Daniel we’ve been captivating imagination for over a century and are really proud of that
What’s your background, and how long have you been working for the Daniel group? It’s actually quite a long story! I joined the toy department at Daniel 16 years ago as a Saturday sales assistant. Little did I know it was the start of a long and exciting journey! I went on to study Biological Sciences and Microbiology at London’s Imperial College, and was going on to do a postgrad course in veterinary medicine in Liverpool, but it was the time of the recession and my funding fell through. I was still working as a weekend supervisor
Did you know… Daniel Department Store works with more than 100 suppliers. From big corporates, such as Hasbro and Mattel, to smaller companies including Orchard Toys, Schleich, Tobar and Green Elephant.
at Daniel, and started full time as an Assistant Buyer. The Toy Buyer saw potential in me, and that’s how I moved into toy buying. When she retired a couple of years later I got the job – and that was six years ago.
What do you love about the job? There’s a lot of human interaction in this job – you need good people skills and I love that, plus the days can be very varied. I might be dealing with a key account in the morning and working on visual merchandising in the afternoon. As we’re an independent store, I get to buy a really broad range of product, and I love speaking to and working with suppliers to ensure their brands come to life in our retail setting.
You recently won Department Store Retailer of the Year at the Toy Industry Awards – what was the team’s reaction and how has the news gone down with your customer base? This is the second time we’ve won, after taking the award home in 2015, and it’s such a humbling experience. You can work incredibly hard over a year and not get any recognition, so it was great and it always comes
Fact! Windsor’s Daniel Department Store has 10,000 square feet of designated space for toys and games, aptly called Toy Kingdom
as a surprise. It’s fantastic to be acknowledged by the industry and the judging panel. That’s the lovely thing about working at Daniel. We all work so closely together that it’s like a family and the win is for everyone – some of the staff have been here for 30 years. We’ve also had a great reaction from customers. We have a very loyal customer base and they are an integral part of the Daniel story too.
the time we get to Spring Fair I’m well and truly exhausted, but the show gives that point of difference. We always find a fabulous children’s gift company there that doesn’t exhibit anywhere else.
How was London Toy Fair for you generally this year – and the wider busy trade show season in January/February? Are there any shows that are particularly important for Daniel and that you never miss?
2018 was an amazing year for Daniel and we held a variety of events over the 12 months, including a gala for our chosen charities. For toys it was also a big year in terms of Windsor weddings, and we featured on the newly-launched Windsor Monopoly. We also had a royal visit from the Countess of Wessex to mark the centenary. She actually knew our department as a parent, and was lovely. She’s so low key and charming that you wouldn’t necessarily recognise her if she came into the store to shop! As for the store’s heritage, it’s
Toy Fair is the show we never miss! It’s when the buying season really kicks off and the ambience of the show encapsulates what I love about working in this industry. We’ve just been to Nuremberg for the third year running and that show is great for new business and working closely with suppliers. By
Daniel celebrated its centenary last year – were there any memorable events to mark this on the toy side? And how important is the heritage of a store like Daniel to the toy deptartment?
It’s ﬂattering that the nationals come to check out our displays. It’s humbling in a way but I think any competition is healthy
very relevant to our continued success. The grandchildren of the founder, W. J. Daniel, still work in the business full time and our Chairman Peter Daniel deals with everything very personally. History is also very important to the toy department, Toy Kingdom, as the generations of consumers who have shopped here give it a real sense of community.
How big a shop ﬂoor space do you have devoted to toys? The Toy Kingdom is 10,000 square feet, which is fantastic as not many retailers have such a space to work with. The customer’s retail experience is very important to us, and we work hard to bring people into the store. I think that’s our real point of difference. It’s about great customer service, the rapport of staff and knowing your product – and of course customers coming in with their children and enjoying themselves. We’ve been captivating imagination for over a century and are really proud of that.
RETAIL INTERVIEW DANIEL
a big impact on sales for us. But then I think that’s the toy industry – everyone knows each other and helps each other and it leads to results. It’s a collaborative process.
The year that Daniel Department Store in Windsor opened for business
How important is your online toy store?
How big is the team of buyers you work with? It’s actually only myself and my assistant, Lauren Cano. We work closely and do all the trade shows – but of course we work alongside sales and visual merchandising. Our in-house VM team are fantastic, but they are responsible for the whole store, the store windows etc. so they are pretty busy! They are fabulous, in that you can chat to them about an idea – such as our new Harry Potter area – and soon a creative plan is laid out in front of you and they just ‘magic it up!’ Lauren and I are quite involved with VM but that’s the beauty of attending the shows. If you see it in the flesh and can replicate ideas to some extent it can help bring brands to life.
Daniel’s industry-leading displays often attract people from other stores, including the nationals. How do you feel about this? It’s flattering that the nationals, or any competitors for that matter, come to check us out. It’s humbling in a way, but then I think competition is healthy. You can get visual inspiration from many places after all. Our displays range from the effectively simple, for example
launching a new range with a light box and a TV screen, to very special bespoke projects such as the first fully interactive train in the country, which we worked with Brio on. With these kinds of displays there is on occasion such intricate detail that it could take nine months to a year to get it up and running.
In terms of favourite suppliers, who do you have strong relationships with as a store? As a department we work with more than 100 suppliers, and they all operate differently. From big corporates, such as Hasbro and Mattel, to much smaller companies including Orchard Toys, Schleich, Tobar and Green Elephant. Working with them all is very rewarding. Janod is a fab French brand, and we sat down with them as sales of pre-school wooden toys had been proving tricky. They had a large foam rocket on one of their show stands last year so we replicated a five-foot rocket in store. It was very iconic because it had a ‘window’ backdrop and now it’s evolved to other stores, where you can even take a rocket selfie! It was great for them and had
I think that’s the toy industry – everyone knows each other and helps each other and it leads to results. It’s a collaborative process.
It’s very small in terms of sales for us, but we have a dedicated team working on it in house and it is important. Daniel is a household name and as a bricks and mortar store we’re very customer oriented, but we have some exciting online projects planned for this year. I think any savvy retailer these days has to have an online presence – and well-run social media channels.
What sold well for Daniel last year, and is there any particular toy category or brand that’s perennially popular? Squishies sold well, as inspired by Character Options, and of course there was the domination of L.O.L.! Sequin plush was also a big trend towards the end of the year, and putty and slime were still popular. Windsor is a very traditional catchment area, so craft and science kits always sell well, as do board games, and LEGO, Playmobil, Brio, Ravensburger and Janod sell really well as brands.
Any toy trends you think will be big for 2019? L.O.L. is still looking strong. They are brilliant for independents and we have swap clubs that are great for business. MGA’s Poopsie we expect to sell very well, and Fortnite should also do well.
Finally, what was your favourite toy growing up? I actually grew up in Johannesburg (we moved to the UK when I was 12), so I spent much of my early childhood outside. A cricket and rugby ball and Swingball were my toys of choice. I also liked zoo and safari animals and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Leonardo was my favourite! Daniel Department Store, 121-125 Peascod Street, Windsor, SL4 1DP. 01753 801000, www.danielstores.co.uk
Toy talk Retailers are important to us here at TnP. We love chatting to them each month to get industry insights into what is selling well and we ask some key questions...
TnP loves to hear your views. This month we chat with retailers around the country to see what’s selling and what lines they’re excited for in 2019...
Owner, Totally Awesome
GM, Banba Toymaster
Totally Awesome has two real-world shops in West Yorkshire, and a website.
This Dublin store was finalist in the Independent Toy Retailer of the Year Awards What toy range stood out to you at any of the trade fairs? Being situated directly next door to a Smyths store means we have to be clever! Yes, we stock all the brands such as LEGO, Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master and others, but we pay a bit of extra attention to the likes of Schleich because we tend to stock the range – and also to jigsaws as we have become known as a destination shop for them, along with our range of model kits and Playmobil. What movies ddo you think will drive your business this year? I am quite looking forward to The Lego Movie 2 and Toy Story 4. I believe the fact that the humour works on both a child’s and an adult’s level helps greatly in extending the life of the product. The other movie that staff here were looking forward to was How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; feedback has been very good and toy sales has been good so far. How are you feeling about trade in 2019? Most of the schools around Dublin have been closed this week for mid-term breaks and the weather is quite good, so there is a bit of extra business. Everything is still up in the air regarding Brexit and the effects it will bring, but we must remain positive and as we are celebrating 75 years in business this year we must be doing something right!
JULIA LOWE Founder, Farm Toys Online How are you feeling about trading in 2019? Encouragingly, our sales are up by 23% compared to the same period last year. Despite the challenges that Brexit may or may not bring, I’m feeling confident that 2019 will be another great year for Farm Toys Online. Toys will always be bought and farm toys will always have a timeless fascination for children. Interestingly, I caught up with many of our European suppliers, such as Bruder and Siku, at Toy Fair and not one raised any concerns over Brexit. If there are any issues, there’ll be no shortage of toys at Farm Toys Online... We stocked up just in case! What was the most promising range you saw at the trade shows? I wasn’t blown away by the NPD within the farm toys niche. But Papo Toys really stood out for me. They’ve focused on quality and I think it’ll start to pay off for them; the animals are beautiful and very realistic.
The After Alice Project
How are you feeling about trading in 2019? We’re really excited about 2019. We opened our second shop last year and expected it to take a while to get going, but it immediately took off. And we have a good balanced blend of toys for ages 11 to 99. Yes, there’s Brexit, and the Bank of England has predicted a downturn in the economy. But we sell quality goods at the right price point. As I said to my staff, you don’t need anything in our shops, but we need to create that ‘want’. So I’m fairly confident about 2019. I think the resurgence in family games will help too – there are lots of new and innovative games. What range do you think showed promise at the trade shows? Pindaloo! We are already stocking it – and I sold some before we even had it. I mentioned it to some of our regular customers and told them how excited I was about it and they’d put their order in before they had even seen it. It’s one of those things that will sell well if you can demonstrate it well – so I need to make sure the staff in my shop can!
JAMES COLCLOUGH Director, East Midland Toy Company Ltd EMTC was recently named Specialist Multiple Toy Retailer of the Year (2-29 stores) at the Retailer of the Year Awards What movies are you expecting to drive business this year? Toy Story 4 is the big one for me, a real firework under multiple brands and ranges across most age groups. Lots of the product I’ve seen so far looks great and well thought out. The movie series reminds us of the value in imaginative play and that’s exactly what toy shops need. How are you feeling about trading in 2019? After a tricky start, with a bit of carry-over from peak season, we ran a healthy sale. It’s half term at the moment and the best week of the year so far. The weather has settled, bringing footfall and a nice buzz back to the towns we trade in. I feel a positive momentum as we plan for Easter. What range had promise at the trade shows? I was enthused by the collectable ranges, things like Fart Ninjas are a refreshing (or not!) injection of humour to the shop counter. I think suppliers just need to keep an eye on price points as the line between pocket money and gift values is being blurred in some areas. Some of the weaker pocket money lines are commanding £12-plus.
Tru Kids. What’s in a name? S
Toys R Us is set to make a comeback under the newly founded Tru Kids Brand. But what can be done to avoid the same fate as before?
o, when is a brand dead and buried? And if it is, online concern. The effort did not cut the mustard and in spite should it be allowed to R.I.P? First, it was FAO of the affection we were all supposed to harbour for the Schwarz (as considered in last month’s column) and name, it too closed unceremoniously. now it’s the turn of Toys R Us. Having left a lot of suppliers high On this reckoning (and past performance is, of course, and dry last year, one of toytown’s biggest players disappeared no guarantee of future prospects) it might appear that Tru into the administrative ether and that seemed to be about it. Kids is something of a vanity project for Toys R Us’ former Then last month, a white knight in the shape of Tru Kids, a New management. And consider the facts, there are some very Jersey-headquartered outfit, emerged seemingly almost from good toy shops out there, big and small. For big, just head nowhere. Suddenly we were faced with the prospect of Toys R Us to Hamleys, which understands that being a retailer does not making some kind of comeback, whether that be as a variant of involve standing still. This is an outfit that keeps changing its Toys R Us, or with many of the intellectual property rights taking interiors and generally keeps up with the zeitgeist. A visit to shelter under the Tru Kids banner. Currently, nothing is terribly Hamleys these days pays more than a passing nod to things clear. What is certain is that Tru Kids is a flag of digital, while at the same time realising that convenience for Toys R Us and the purveyor of mass we are all part of the ‘experience economy’ market toys from slab-sided sheds may be about to when we go shopping. For small but nearly a visit to ride again. formed toy shops, there are plenty many high streets perfectly All good, but is this a terribly wise idea? Could of examples and a visit to many high streets will still reveal it be that category-killing formats have had their will still reveal stores where service and day? And anyway, isn’t that what the internet is understanding your customer are the A-Z of stores where supposed to do? The annals of retail history are keeping the bank manager at bay. service and strewn with names that were once familiar and What, therefore, should Tru Kids do if it is which seemed, in their day, invulnerable but which understanding to avoid going the same way as the name it your customer went the way of all flesh, appearing these days as has bought? The first thing should probably just a footnote for retail historians. be to take a very hard look at why Toys R Us are the A-Z of So, does dredging up a failed enterprise whose in the UK and the US. I always found keeping the bank failed, dominant raison d’être was that it had everything them to be pretty uninviting places. Originally manager at bay – when that mirrors the siren call of the internet shoppers went to them, because they would merchants – a good idea? Surely, if Toys R Us is find what they wanted. Yet high shelving and to work it has to do something rather different long, long aisles with more than a whiff of from what went before. And in fairness one of the warehouse about them have had their time. things that Tru Kids has been pretty canny about is not saying Why exactly would anybody make a trip to this kind of what it will do, as it probably doesn’t quite know at the enterprise rather than spend a few minutes on the sofa with moment. In spite of the fact that a large number of its a laptop? And then there is the matter of how many stores? management are former Toys R Us employees, there When it closed, Toys R Us was a fixture of almost every is no guarantee that the new enterprise, which medium-sized town in the US and the same was mostly true will appear in Europe, Asia and its home market, this side of the Pond. will bear the retailer’s original logo. It is worth Yet, if there is one thing that is apparent in the emerging stating, however, that the intellectual property retail landscape, it is that if you want to succeed you need rights to Toys R Us and Babies R Us will not fewer shops, and they need to be better; every store now go unused and the brands and merchandise needs to be a ‘flagship’ – a destination. This means investing associated with these names will make in store design – no more sheds with shed-like interiors landfall in the new stores. – and retailers must try, to an extent, to respond to local Which rather brings us round not just to customers, whether it’s with personalisation or the products the resurrection of failed toy companies, that are stocked. but also to names that go hand-in-hand with This in turn implies that not everything that was failure. There is some precedent in this respect a Toys R Us product will work in every store. Tru Kids with attempts having been made to raise BHS, management needs to subject every store to close scrutiny, the cut-price department store group that folded treating each branch almost as if it were a one-off. in 2016, from its deep sleep. It was reborn as an If it does all of this, there is a chance that Toys R Us might work in some revitalised form.
John Ryan is Stores Editor at Retail Week. He has worked for the magazine for more than a decade covering store design, visual merchandising and what makes things sell in-store. In a previous life he was a buyer.
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Let’s get The increasing popularity of video games offers the toy industry a new avenue of licensed products to be explored
t first glance, it might per cent. Mobile gaming has seen the appear that digital highest increase; Fortnite saw more games, such as than 100 million iOS downloads Fortnite, could become within five months of launch. a threat to the toy industry, as Alongside Fortnite, other game more and more children – and titles pulling in the big bucks especially boys aged eight and up include action-adventure games – spend their leisure time on God of War and Far Cry 5, consoles rather than playing with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – traditional toys. another battle royale shooter that But tapping into the trend is pits 100 players against proving to be a successful strategy each other – and Roblox, for toy manufacturers, distributors a massively multiplayer and retailers. The prevalence of online game featuring Fortnite-licensed toys alone at LEGO-like virtual London Toy Fair was evidence of this blocks, that is – and London toy store Hamleys even popular with held Fortnite dance sessions over tween-agers. February half term. Later in the And it appears to be an everyear, sports growing market, with consumer titles spending on video gaming in the US Madden reaching $19.5 billion in the first half NFL 19, of 2018 – an increase of 40 per cent and NBA compared with the first half of 2017 2K19 and – according to the latest report from leading global information company The NPD Group. According to Mat Developing Piscatella, Industry Analyst; Video Games, ‘’The impact toys for Fortnite of Fortnite has been felt is a toy designer’s across the industry, lifting dream hardware sales while also Jonny Taylor, pushing the market to achieve record highs in Jazwares such areas as headset and game card spending.’’ Video game content sales have risen even more – up 43
40 PER CENT Increase in consumer spending on video gaming in the US.
super-hero action adventure Spider-Man, joined the list. And we mustn’t forget Minecraft, which had 91 million players worldwide over the summer of 2018, with 154 million copies sold since its inception in 2014, according to its publisher Microsoft. In comparison, Fortnite pulled in 7.6 million simultaneous players on February 16, with a new high of 10.7million concurrent players on February 2 for the virtual concert from American DJ and music producer Marshmello. Twitch, a live streaming site used by gamers, had 2.2 million broadcasters per month and 15 million daily active users. Gaming is clearly big business. Since before Christmas, however, the game name on everyone’s lips has been Fortnite. According to Jazwares UK & Nordics Managing Director Jonny Taylor, the hugely successful video game, which sees players don a variety of ‘skins’ and earn various weapons in a bid to kill all opponents and win ‘Victory Royale’, says: ‘‘Developing toys for Fortnite is a toy designer’s dream. The brand is red hot right now and with such an extensive character base, incredible environments and vehicles, translating the digital world of Fortnite into the real world of toys has been an amazing experience for everyone involved.’’ The first range of
t digital Fortnite products launched just before Christmas and Taylor says: ‘‘We literally couldn’t keep the product on the shelves.’’ Jazwares also produces a range of collectables and figures based on Roblox. The digital world moves quickly and is ever-evolving, something that the toy industry needs to keep up with if it is going to take full
10.7 MILLION PLAYERS Went online for Fortnite’s Marshmello concert on 2 February 2019. advantage of the trends. Funko’s pop culture core is the ideal match for the Fortnite trend, as MD Andy Oddie says: ‘’It lends itself to Funko toys and collectables because its fast-evolving nature is something our business is entirely grounded on. We have the know-how to bring quality collectable products to market far quicker than the traditional toy industry would expect. We recognised the fast-growing player base and the interest generally and we knew we could be one of the first to deliver Fortnite merchandise to retailers.’’ While video games have such a big hold over tweens and teenagers, bringing them back into the real
world can be a real attraction for parents concerned about time spent in front of a screen, so licensed toys that appeal to players and bring them out of their bedrooms are likely to be a winner. Hasbro has recognised that and turned its already popular Nerf blasters into Fortnite blasters so that gamers can bring their battles into the real world – and fresh air! And it has had made Fortnite into a family game by producing Monopoly: Fortnite Edition. Craig Wilkins, Senior Marketing Director, Hasbro, says: ‘’Fortnite has quickly become a cultural phenomenon with legions of players worldwide, many of whom are already searching for Nerf blasters to host their own Fortnite battles. Through our collaboration with Epic Games, fans will now have the ability to experience the Battle Royale in all new ways, whether it’s the active and adventurous fun of a Nerf Fortnite blaster battle or the exciting strategising of playing Monopoly: Fortnite Edition with friends. ‘’With millions of players worldwide, Fortnite is one of the biggest online games available today, making it an ideal property to introduce across some of Hasbro’s most popular and wellknown brands. With positive feedback from both consumers and retailers already, following the Monopoly: Fortnite Edition game launch, the anticipation is building for the Nerf Fortnite line, which is due to hit stores in spring!’’
As the brand awareness for Angry Birds is very high from tots to adults we have products in every category David Mordecai, Tobar
And it looks like the Fortnite brand is set to appear in all kinds of toy categories – there are even Character Options Mighty Beanz based on characters from the game. Of course, it’s not all about Fortnite; with mobile games seeing a huge increase in popularity, the likes of perennially popular game Angry Birds has also been ripe for the toy industry treatment. David Mordecai, CEO, Tobar, which produces a wide selection of Angry Birds product from pocket money toys, such as blind bag collectable mini squishies to large jelly ball characters, says the beauty of the game is its “really strong characters with a wide existing fan base. Add to this the impetus of the new film and the already-high brand awareness will increase. As awareness is very high from tots to adults, we have products in every category – including a space hopper for outdoors!’’
DID YOU KNOW… Twitch is a live streaming site used by gamers.
COVER FEATURE JAZWARES
the trends! Jonny Taylor, UK & Nordics Managing Director, Jazwares talks to TnP about the success of its new Fortnite products and reveals what’s in store for 2019. From Fortnite to Roblox, Fingerlings, Untamed to Baby Shark – Jazwares has all the trends covered
Jazwares’ newly-launched Fortnite offering is extensive to say the least. Can you tell us about the driving force behind these innovations? Our line consists of a wide range of true-to-game action figures, featuring the most popular outfits, Domez, loot boxes, building sets, environments, game-replica weapons and tools, plush, vehicles, and so much more. Developing toys for Fortnite is a toy manufacturer’s dream. The brand is red hot right now and with such an extensive character base, incredible environments and vehicles, translating the digital world of Fortnite into the real world of toys has been an amazing experience for everyone involved.
Your Fortnite range launched just before Christmas. How did the line perform over the holidays period? We literally couldn’t keep the product on the shelves.
The (Fortnite) brand is red hot right now and with such an extensive character base, incredible environments and vehicles, translating the digital world of Fortnite into the real world of toys has been an amazing experience for everyone involved
What more can we expect to see from the Fortnite line and what do you anticipate will be most popular among Fortnite fans?
scale magical is that you can build out your entire world, adding building environments, vehicles and so much more, which the fans will love.
We are soon launching 12” Victory Series Action Figures and 6” Legendary Series Action Figures. The Legendary Series has incredible innovation including interchangeable faces and more than 30 points of articulation. As well as action figures, we have some exciting new product categories to announce. We are confident fans will be blown away with our offering for the second half of the year. However, I still feel our hottest scale will be our 4” Solo Mode Figures. The product quality is exceptionally high, there is a great depth of character to collect. What makes this
What would you say the biggest trends in the boys’ category are for 2019, and how are the new lines from Jazwares meeting these needs?
Jazwares is launching Fortnite action figures with incredible innovation including interchangeable faces and more than 30 points of articulation.
It’s safe to say that gaming properties are more important than ever. With fans already playing for record-breaking levels of hours and the consumption of YouTube and Twitch content sharply on the rise, it’s an evolving entertainment paradigm that’s changing at an everquickening pace. Manufacturers need to jump on new trends quickly; it is more important than ever to fulfil market demand. Toy programmes with innovation and interactivity are also becoming a much more important part of the overall category mix. Jazwares is lucky to have brands that are performing particularly well in this space with Roblox and Fingerlings, Untamed.
Did you know…
Award-winning play Roblox is a highly popular video game platform with 4.5 million monthly active players in the UK. The Jazwares product line is entering Series 5 in Spring and recently won Action Figure of The Year at the Toy Industry Awards.
Jazwares’ Fortnite range consists of true-to-game action figures, featuring the most popular outfits, Domez, loot boxes, building sets, environments, game-replica weapons and tools, plush, vehicles, and so much more. Roblox is a highly popular video game platform with 4.5 million monthly active players in the UK. Our product line is entering Series 5 in Spring and recently won Action Figure of The Year at the Toy Industry Awards. The line continues to encourage fans to build out their world of Roblox – with action figures, vehicles and playsets that reflect the hottest games on the platform right now. Fingerlings, Untamed had phenomenal success last year with its interactive T-Rex and Raptor range. With line extensions of Dire Wolves, Skeletons and Sabre Tooth Tigers already in the market, and a range of other characters set to launch in the second half of the year, we expect this line to go from strength to strength. Video games and product IPs with genuine innovation are becoming a much more important part of the category mix. Thankfully we are well positioned to capitalise on these segments of the business.
What do you have going on in the trend category?
the UK. Finally, our Wacky Putty line is continuing to perform very well and has a strong refresh coming in for the second half of the year.
How does Jazwares work with retailers to support sales? Our goal is to put the right brands and products into the right retailers. We invest heavily in marketing and have very close working relationships with all our customers to maximise opportunities.
Video games and product IPs with genuine innovation are becoming a much more important part of the category mix
What are Jazwares’ goals for 2019 and how do you hope to achieve them?
We plan to grow our business substantially this year and we are confident we have the formula for success. We also have one eye sharply focused on a big 2020.
Our Baby Shark line is phenomenally strong. There is a TV show in the pipeline, and we are confident the brand has longevity. Ztringz is a pocket money line that we are in the process of launching, which is in essence Cat’s Cradle. The item is seeing crazy levels of success in many markets and we expect it Fingerlings, Untamed enjoyed great success last year with its interactive T-Rex to emulate that and Raptor range. With line extensions of Dire Wolves, Skeletons and Sabre same success in
Tooth Tigers now available, and other characters set to launch in the second half of the year, this range is expected to go from strength to strength.
Worth the slog? The Indie’s business is booming, and he’s now beaming – especially as Toy Fair has become a distant memory. But what did he make of this year’s new products?
The fairs give that ever-important overview of what is coming out, finalising decisions on similar products from different suppliers and moulding what the range of new toys looks like
to inform you that my business grew in 2018, which from my conversations in the aisles during the fairs is something of a rarity. So in essence I really look forward to this time of year, as it is the rubber stamp that I still know that I am doing well as a toy buyer, with none of the ridiculous price cuts that come from the Christmas season and the expensive items we have to shift off our shelves. I love getting my initial orders placed, having this stock come in, and seeing VOLUME: customers happy with 1) The LEGO Movie 2 Minifigures – LEGO the range they are 2) L.O.L. Surprise Pets – MGA presented with. The 3) Hot Wheels Singles – Mattel only difficulty it that VALUE: I have to do so many days at fairs in order to 1) L.O.L. Surprise Pets – MGA make this all happen. 2) The LEGO Movie 2 Minifigures – LEGO I will be upfront and 3) Cutetitos – Basic Fun! honest – I hate Toy Fair am so happy it is March! I mean, come on, the weather is everso-slightly edging towards acceptable levels, the toy fairs are now a distant memory (this is by far the most important reason I am happy) and sales are going well. My business is largely based upon the day-in, day-out sales of products under £10, and being on top of what people want when they want them. I am delighted
with a passion. It is very easy to explain why, if not a little bit “Victor Meldrew-ish”. I hate the travel, I hate the hotel, I hate the not-so-pleasant London people, I hate the Tube, I hate being so rushed off my feet for every second of every day that the only thing I actually concentrate on is what time it is, I hate sales managers/ directors coming over to say hello, when for the other 364 days of the year they don't know who I am, what I do or where my business is at. I am quite an introvert at heart, so having needless chat with people doesn't really do it for me, but to answer the same questions 10-12 times a day really starts to wear me down and I end up needing a whisky by about 10.30am each day. Anyway, I know I am only seeing my side of things, and
THE SECRET SUPPLIER
Communication is key Toy Fair may be expensive and at times frustrating, but there is a lot to be gained from the show, not least the opportunity for two-way communication, says the Secret Supplier
I have learnt so much from what retailers have told me during Toy Fair and I would imagine that is true for most suppliers
am worried about The Independent! He hates Toy Fair, although he is a passionate toy retailer. Is it possible to love retail and yet hate Toy Fair? I can well understand that Toy Fair is expensive and at times
frustrating, but the event is a celebration of all that is good in our industry. How can you miss that? As a supplier we believe that Toy Fair is a vital part of our communication with retail, albeit an expensive and exhausting time for company staff. I wonder if the Independent feels more at home in his own retail environment because he is the “boss” and because he has full
responsibility for all that happens. I also think that the Independent under values the benefits of talking to executives of exhibiting
companies. I have learnt so much from what retailers have told me during Toy Fair and I would imagine that is true for most suppliers. I also think it is a two-way communication process and that astute retailers can gather a lot from conversations with us suppliers. In many of the interesting articles that the Independent writes for this prestigious magazine, he often expresses his concerns about a particular supplier who does something which he feels is to his disadvantage. What better opportunity than Toy Fair to address those problems directly with the supplier? In fact, that is clearly what happens as the Independent makes specific
The other stand out supplier from the fairs has to be Jazwares. This is a company that is right at the front of innovation
range looks fantastic. The other stand-out supplier from the fairs has to be Jazwares. This is a company that is right at the front of innovation, with its own IP, Nanobles – a collectable, highlydecorated series of houses where you can make up your own community – and Fortnite. One thing is for sure, Jazwares is set to do big things in 2019. Overall, I felt that Toy Fair was a hard slog, but I always feel like that. It is surreal when the big suppliers seem to be struggling, when most other suppliers are able to innovate, and have a lot of new stuff to show you when you visit them. I suppose it is no different to being a customer in a retail store. If you are treated poorly, and see nothing new on your visits, it gets boring and you stop being interested. The good thing on that front is that we have limited money to spend every year, and kids want the latest and greatest thing all the time, so we have plenty to go at this year and we are loving how different the stores look at the moment, even if most of our top five suppliers are looking fairly same-same.
I can well understand that Toy Fair is expensive and at times frustrating, but the event is a celebration of all that is good in our industry
coming out, finalising decisions on similar products from different suppliers and moulding what the range of new toys looks like that we want to offer our customers going forward. In particular, I felt that Basic Fun! was in a great place, and so far, our sales of the Little Lucky Lunchbox collectable and Cutetitos are doing really good numbers. It is hard to get overly excited about the usual big suppliers, as nothing seems to ever change much there. I feel that LEGO`s range looks stronger than it has done in a while. And I love that Spin Master has listened to the retailer and come up with proper pricing on its pocket money lines. Although, MGA is still leading the way forward; it continues to rake in a sizeable percentage of our overall sales. Another supplier that I was particularly impressed with is Clementoni. We have done business for a few years now, but this year in London its stand was very impressive and I look forward to growing with the company in 2019. The same can be said of Click (which also distributes Worlds Apart); its product
that some of the bigwigs on the supply side actually do want to catch up and hear positive things, but it is all just a bit much for me. I might get a t-shirt printed that says; “Sales were good for us, we were pretty clean by the end of the year. Margin held too, which is great. Your products sold okay, but it would help if we were able to make some money out of the sales. How are you?” The only problem with this is Clementoni that I would have to get three printed, and would still be judged for wearing the same shirt three days in a row. On the other hand, the fairs give that everimportant overview of what is
reference to Spin Master “listening” to retailers regarding proper pricing. The Independent also highlights the benefits of Toy Fair in his references to Clementoni, Basic Fun!, Jazwares, LEGO, Spin Master, among other suppliers. Where else could the
Independent get up close and personal with his suppliers? So, I think the Independent’s comments can be taken with a pinch of salt, because under that hard but introverted exterior, is a sharp retailer who is happy to absorb all that Toy Fair has to offer!
WHAT’S N Brand spanking new launches from top toy companies to help you sell more!
Pets with attitude! JAZWARES 020 3598 0270 www.jazwares.com
Toy Fair saw new extensions to the Feisty Pets brand, including new characters and new expressions, with vehicles set to be introduced for AW19. Jazwares also showcased the new Feisty Pets pocketmoney blind collectables, Mini Misfits and four inch plastic characters. Also new for 2019 is Ztringz, a rainbow-coloured cat’s cradleinspired playground craze toy. Supported by a TV and digital marketing campaign and The Ztringz Academy YouTube channel with tutorials and 45+ Ztringz figures to learn and make.
Inspiring girls’ imaginations SCHLEICH 01279 870000 www.schleich-s.co.uk One of the most celebrated collector’s themes within the Schleich portfolio is Horse Club, and this year won’t disappoint as new play sets, horse breeds and four Horse Club friends and their four-legged companions join the range. Introducing popular horse lovers Hannah, Sofia, Lisa and Sarah, children can embark on new adventures starting in July. What is special is that all the figures are movable and can ride, sit, stand and grip. Each girl also captivates with her individual personality and special relationship to her horse.
A true figurehead BRUDER 01491 412415 (The Sales Partnership) www.bruder.de
Tears of toy joy
For 2019, Bruder has developed new themed sets in which bworld toy figures become even more realistic. These themed sets consist of colour-printed, stable plastic wall elements that can be set up and converted easily thanks to a connector system made for children. These are scenarios including accessories that are available as an overall package based on themes that can be freely combined with each other. These are, Motorcycle Workshop, Health Station, Horse Barn and Police Station. Each themed set not only includes one, two or three walls, but also individual toy accessories and one toy figure from the conventional bworld series – The Hospital set even includes two. Bruder was delighted to win a ToyAward for the new bworld theme sets at Spielwarenmesse, Nuremberg, 2019. The new themed sets are intended as the link between toy figures and vehicles to intensify the playing experience. The versatile toys have been designed to encourage role play and enrich the imagination.
IMC TOYS UK
01904 720 908 www.imctoys.com Cry Babies Magic Tears is an unboxing collection featuring the cute babies that cry real tears and have a magical story to tell. 2019 sees a brand new collection, Series 2: Fantasy range. As you unbox the mystery bottle house, you will unveil the cutest glittery Cry Baby Magic Tears that comes with six fun accessories: a bottle, a bow, a dummy, a chair and two glittering accessories unique to each doll. Open the additional compartment to see if you have a glitter surprise!
NEW Cooking up a storm
HASBRO 020 8569 1234 www.hasbro.com It’s all about food with Play-Doh for 2019, with the release of the Play-Doh Stamp n Top Pizza Oven, which encourages children aged three and over to make their own pretend pizza – stamp the base, grate the ‘cheese’ and slice with the cutter. Or crank ‘popcorn’ into buckets with the Play-Doh Popcorn Pastry Play Food Set. Remember to add play food toppings such as pretend pretzels, crazy candy, and more with the candy-themed stamps and moulds, then add silly syrup or butter. For dessert, get Tootie the magical unicorn to poop out some colourful ice cream with the Play-Doh Tootie Ice Cream Set.
Made to measure
A leading licensee SINCO CREATIONS 07793 121778 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sincocreations.com Having enjoyed enormous success with its L.O.L. Jewellery Series Watch, Sinco Creations has some exciting new launches planned for 2019. The range will expand to include a variety of products including ha ir accessories, jewellery and money boxes. Sinco will also be adding a range of Ryan’s World toys and collectables to its offering for 2019. Ryan, the YouTube sensation, has more than 18 million followers and more than 27 billion views - not bad for an eight-year-old! The range will include Bursterz, Spinzals and Gobsmax. Children will love Bursterz - eggs that are designed to be squeezed until they burst! Hidden within and ready to be revealed is a mystery figurine covered in a blanket of slime. Also sure to be a hit with the kids are Spinzals, the gyro spinning racers that are set to provide hours of entertainment for little fingers. Spin, race, stack, battle and balance – the possibilities are endless. And finally, Gobsmax are quirky, characterbased balls that open on impact to reveal their wacky teeth and score icon! With three different gameplay options, Gobsmax are guaranteed to entertain.
Big hair, don’t care
01626 835400 www.wiltonbradley.com
0208 643 0320 www.flairplc.co.uk
With the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee currently on TV screens, Wilton Bradley’s range of licensed sewing stations and kits are great for the inspired viewer. This range consists of beginnerfriendly, high-quality sewing stations and easy-to-follow kits that have been carefully designed to inspire children to delve into the creative world of sewing. Each sewing machine and kit features easy-to-follow, illustrative instructions, as well as a difficulty rating so that avid young tailors can continue to progress their sewing skills with the help of Great British Sewing Bee products.
Flair’s Hairdorables are back with their ‘big hair, don’t care’ attitude in series two of the hit doll collectable. With 26 new dolls to collect, fans can discover all-new styles and a fun colour reveal feature that packs extra play value into every collectable. Added to the spring line-up are the latest members of the Hairdorables squad, the Hairdorables Pets. Just like the girls, each of the 24 Pets comes in surprise packaging and has its own style, with super-soft hair and its very own brush. This spring launch for Hairdorables is high on the agenda for Flair. TV has just begun and will deliver a high number of TVRs throughout the season, combined with a strong YouTube preroll campaign.
GAMES & PUZZLES
Thinking ins i With pocket money price points, a rise in retro games and a growing trend for harnessing games and puzzles as a way to embrace mindfulness, the broad appeal of this category is one that only continues to grow. TnP’s Sarah Welsh spoke to a range of retailers and leading brands to ﬁnd out more
he enduringly popular and always innovative games and puzzles toy niche could be called something of a kaleidoscope category, if you wanted to get a tad poetic about it! This is simply because this broad and ﬂexible appeal of the toy market is one that everyone sees in their own unique way – and can market and merchandise in a way that suits their own consumer audience and store. It’s true whether you’re talking about a much-loved independent garden centre, a boutique Now that toy and gift store or small consumers chain, a department store or a have so much leading national with shops too choice, quality numerous to mention and an online outfit to be reckoned with. has to be high Take Rachel Gibbons, Shop for a game to Manager, Buckingham Garden rise above the Centre, and mum of two, knows only too well the big draw of noise or games and puzzles product. continue to “Our audience category across stand out year the garden centre in general after year is ages 40 to 60,” Rachel says. “In terms of upper age limit, Ben Hogg, the ‘grandparent market’ will Asmodee always be important for us, but increasingly we’re seeing parents coming in with their children, eating in the restaurant and shopping in-store. “They all buy for the children in their lives, which is perfect, as our focus on games and puzzles product is geared towards a younger market.” Games and puzzles is increasingly becoming an important product section for garden centres, especially as such
retailers can be creative with their generally large shop ﬂoor spaces – in terms of visual merchandising and in-store demos. “This is a category we can be hugely imaginative with, and my team are experts in merchandising,” Rachel reports. “Some suppliers will offer FSDUs, but we set out our shop ﬂoor in an individual way. We have a children’s area, with everything from books to games to gardening tools, and I’ve actually just re-laid it out since Spring Fair
where we took on Ravensburger. Brands are then sectioned off in individual units inside the wider agerelated shop section. “Important suppliers for us within games and puzzles are Orchard Toys, Paul Lamond and Key Imports, and top-selling product includes: Orchard’s Smelly Wellies, Little Bug Bingo and Shopping List and Room on the Broom and Dinosaur Roar card games from Paul Lamond. “Product from Ravensburger is set to arrive imminently, and I think it will go down really well with customers.”
2018’s top 10
Games and Puzzles According to research from the NPD Group, 2018’s top games were: Dobble, Rubik’s Cube from John Adams Leisure, Ravensburger’s GraviTrax Starter Set, Scrabble and Uno Originals from Mattel – and an amazing five inclusions for Hasbro, ranging from three different versions of Monopoly to Trivial Pursuit.
s ide the box In Hebdon Bridge and Halifax, Totally Awesome’s two toy stores place great importance on the sales of games and puzzles product and working with the huge array of items they stock in a collaborative way with their customer base – from in-store tables that build on the popularity of gaming clubs and social gaming to brand demonstrations. Co-founder Aamir Yusef, told TnP: “Stocking quite unusual games is a USP for us. We’re proudly aimed at the ‘dad pound’ and parents buying for their children. There’s a Toymaster store a short walk away from where we’re located in one of Halifax’s most unique buildings – the three-tier, 17th Century Piece Hall – and we don’t compete with them at all. “We find that merchandising games and puzzles works best for us in distinct sections, rather than displaying by brand. So we have hand-held puzzles, card games, family oriented games, ones with more rules, and three areas of remote-controlled toys – to name a few. “We love working with forwardthinking suppliers such as Green Board Games, which does demos and send in props, and Big Potato – it
initially sent us a huge boxful of everything it makes so we could see what would have traction for us. “Retro product is a big trend for us currently, so the V Cube is selling well, as are yoyos, as is a game called Cobra Paw – a fast and furious game where you have to spot symbols at speed.” In Windsor, Daniel the department store, is chosen by some members of the royal family as a place to purchase toys and games, and Toy
Puzzles continue to be hugely popular with older consumers, but we’re also seeing a big increase in sales of them to a younger audience in their 20s and 30s
Steven Russell, Jumbo
Buyer Warren Du Preez describes its customer base as ‘traditional’. The top three bestselling games and puzzles products for Daniel are Orchard Toys’ Shopping List, Dobble from Asmodee and L.O.L. Top Trumps from Winning Moves. All the heritage store’s bestsellers are also currently under the £15 price point. “Games and puzzles as a category tends to be primarily shopped by parents looking for a family game or puzzle, especially Orchard with its hidden educational learning content,” Warren reveals. “Top suppliers for us from a POS perspective, have to be Ravensburger and Orchard. Both have worked collaboratively with me to bring their brands to life, and examples include a Big Ben feature stand to showcase the 3D puzzles from Ravensburger and an enlarged ‘Cheeky Monkey’s Tree’ where the kids can hang some monkeys on the branches, for Orchard’s game of the same name. “We’ve worked alongside Big Potato to recreate a party popper stand for its unique quirky party games, and Galt and Asmodee are also brilliant for more generic FSDU opportunities. “Come October, our existing games and puzzles ﬂoor space section extends out from the current 200sq foot with demonstrators.” According to research from the NPD Group, in 2018 the top 10 games and puzzles within the UK market included: Dobble, Rubik’s Cube from John Adams Leisure, Ravensburger’s GraviTrax Starter Set, Scrabble and Uno Originals from Mattel – and an amazing five inclusions for Hasbro,
GAMES & PUZZLES
Retailers say “Games and puzzles as a category tends to be primarily shopped by parents” Warren Du Preez, Daniel Department Store including three versions of Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit. Tris Williams, co-founder of Big Potato Games, says the continued growth of the games and puzzles category is partly due to the industry realisation that adults love playing games too, and want designs that are ‘clever, cool and innovative’. Plus, while tech can be quite solitary at times, playing games can be hugely fun and social, encouraging intergenerational play. “At Big Potato we love a bit of retro, and this year we’re launching the Blockbuster Movie Game,” Tris says. “We’ve also got a new party game coming out called 20 Second Shutdown. It’s a superspeedy random challenge game incorporating our first-ever patented invention – a ‘sounds of time.’ “Instead of watching the sand you know when time is up because it stops making a noise”. Ben Hogg, UK Marketing Manager for Asmodee, thinks the underlying reason why games sales continue to rise in the UK is that there are more better designs out there than ever before. “Games interest and demand has rocketed over the past decade,” Ben says. “In 2019 around 5,000 games were released globally, whereas just 10 years before it was around half that number. “Now that consumers have so much choice, quality has to be high for a game to rise above the noise or continue to stand out year after year.” Ben says that board game clubs have also grown within the UK – both in terms of numbers and the quality of experience they offer to gamers. “Retro product has been a continuous theme for some time – and we’ve seen a big uplift in demand for classic experiences like Dungeons & Dragons,” he adds. “Pop culture TV shows like Stranger Things have also had a part to play in this. “At Asmodee we have a number of summer launches we’re very excited about, including our new addition to
the Party Games range in Telestrations – plus a very exciting new licensed version of Dobble! In addition, we also have a brand new addition to our collection of Fun Fast Games in Dice Academy.” Richard Wells, MD, Paul Lamond Games and University Games UK, says that when it comes to product design in this competitive category, a winning formula for the company is to create games that combine some of the most iconic and much-loved literary characters with fantastic play and educational benefits. “This is evident in our successful Let’s Feed the Hungry Caterpillar and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt board games, and the introduction to our 2019 line-up of The World of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, Horrible Histories and The World of Dinosaur Roar board games,” Richard outlines. “In addition, our Perudo Championships – which is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019 – has gone from strength to strength. “In terms of new product releases, there’s been huge interest in our Gangsta Granny Stash the Swag board game, and family trivia game, ‘Are you Dumber than a Box of Rocks? “There will be substantial TV support for the excellent new Sort It Out and Swipe Out games and we’re also launching a memory game and three 35-piece
Games and puzzles are a great way to spend quality time with friends and family, and a means to focus on creating a more mindful lifestyle Rebecca Hersee, Gibsons Games
puzzles for the Oi! Frog and family book license.” Steven Russell, Marketing Manager, Jumbo, says the company is encouraged by the seven per cent year-on-year growth recently seen in adult puzzles. “This strong performance is, in my opinion, because consumers see them as great value products that have many benefits – stimulating for the brain, good for health and mindfulness and can also be enjoyed socially,” Steven says. “Puzzles continue to be hugely popular with older consumers, but we’re also seeing a big increase in sales of them to a younger audience in their 20s and 30s. “Our Wasgij puzzles have always appealed to younger adult audiences because of the style of artwork being comical and modern, as well as the uniqueness of the brand compared with traditional puzzles, but we’re now seeing the classic illustrations of cottages, canal barges and nostalgic scenes growing in popularity too. “Consumers want to detox from their digital devices and focus on face-to-face social interaction,” Rebecca Hersee, Marketing and Sales Assistant for Gibsons Games, offers, when asked about the enduring popularity of games and puzzles in 2019. “Games and puzzles are a great way to spend quality time with friends and family, and a way of creating a more mindful lifestyle. “Currently, nostalgic themed puzzles are doing well for Gibsons. Our thousand-piece puzzle, The Brands that Built Britain, has been a bestseller over the past few years, and we’ve also seen a surge in sales for our quick-play games such as Mind the Gap.”
THE UKâ€™S NUMBER 1 SELLING ADULT PUZZLE BRAND!*
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GAMES & PUZZLES
On the cards ASMODEE
01420 593 593 www.asmodee.co.uk
One of the biggest new draws in the Asmodee catalogue is Telestrations. This popular drawing game sees all players simultaneously sketch out a word from a secret card, then pass their drawing to their neighbour who writes down what they think the word was. Their guess is then passed along again for another drawing and the pattern continues until everyone has their original sketchbook back. This chain of creativity leads to hilarious, unpredictable outcomes that will have the whole group in stitches. Telestrations’ broad appeal makes it an ideal headliner for Asmodee’s new dedicated Party Games range, which will debut over the summer with widespread demonstrations at family events and festivals. Also in the category is Time’s Up, in which players are split into teams
and take turns trying to describe a variety of famous names to their team-mates against the clock. At first they can say anything other than the name on the card, then just a single word, and in the final round they can do nothing but mime! Meanwhile, Asmodee’s Fun Fast Games range is building on a strong first year, led by the phenomenal success of Dobble. Fun Fast Games also includes Bananagrams, Cobra Paw, Rory’s Story Cubes and Who Did It? plus Dice Academy – a new addition for 2019. Asmodee can also provide eye-catching POS material to support the range. There’s more to come for the Dobble brand in particular as among multiple new versions of the image-matching hit on the horizon is Harry Potter Dobble, launching summer 2019. Previewed at London Toy Fair, this combination of J.K. Rowling’s beloved wizarding world and the UK’s biggest-selling game is sure to excite fans. A key focus for Asmodee in 2019 will be its Modern Classics range, which highlights the board games that have set the benchmark for gameplay and sales in the renaissance of the market over recent years. Ideal for families
and players of any experience level, the Modern Classics include best-sellers such as Pandemic – the pioneering co-operative game about saving the world from deadly diseases – and Ticket to Ride Europe, in which players compete to build rail networks across the continent. Also featured in Modern Classics are the iconic trading game of Catan, the medievalset tile-laying action of Carcassonne, the creative interpretation of Dixit and the simple but devilishly clever gem-trading game Splendor. Finally, retailers should pay close attention to KeyForge, a flagship title for Asmodee which has taken the gaming world by storm since its launch in 2018.
Fact! Harry Potter Dobble launches this summer.
9 BRAND NEW PUZZLES FOR SPRING/SUMMER!
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GAMES & PUZZLES
Jumbo on target for top spot JUMBO GAMES 01707 289289 www.jumbo.eu
Did you know? Jumbo finished 2018 in top position as the UK’s Number 1 manufacturer of Adult Puzzles & Accessories* (NPD FY 2018 Combined Sales Value of Brands), and is clearly aiming for the title again, with more than 60 new Adult Puzzles that launched in January. Jumbo, and the market-leading adult puzzle brand Wasgij, is already seeing growth of +15% this year, led by the six new 1,000-piece puzzle releases across the Original, Destiny and Mystery puzzle concepts. June will see three new 1,000-piece puzzles in the range; Original 32 ‘The Big Weigh In!’, Destiny 20 ‘The
Jumbo has produced all of its puzzles on 100% recycled cardboard for decades Toy Shop!’ and Christmas 15 ‘Santa’s Unexpected Delivery!’ these will again include a free 1,000-piece for added consumer value. The Falcon de luxe puzzle brand featured 10 new puzzles in January, and another 10 are due in April across 500-1,500-pieces. Another 10 will appear in June, including the musthave Christmas 1,000-piece puzzle, titled ‘Santa’s Special Delivery’, which includes a free 1,000-piece in the box. Looking ahead at Disney’s highlyanticipated movie releases,
there are four new 1,000-piece puzzles for Dumbo, Aladdin The Lion King and The Little Mermaid’s 30th anniversary, featuring classic artwork from the original animations. It’s not all about adults. With the new hit pre-school property Moon & Me already topping the viewing charts and consumer demand for product building nicely, Jumbo will be releasing four puzzles aimed at children aged three-plus – 4 Shaped Puzzles, 4in1 Puzzle Pack, Giant Shaped Floor and a Story Puzzle. Jumbo’s range of pre-school ecogames that use fully recycled materials is already proving popular. There are four games in the range; Catch the Mouse, Colour Chameleon, Honey Yummy and Peek-A-Boo. Having already produced all of its puzzles on 100% recycled cardboard for decades, this is a next step in a bigger project in which Jumbo continues to focus on sustainability.
GAMES & PUZZLES
Gaming gold! PAUL LAMOND GAMES 020 7254 0100 www.paul–lamond.com
From award-winning board games to pre-school puzzles, Paul Lamond’s new arrivals – all available now – look set to be a winner with the whole family. New from The World of David Walliams is the Gangsta Granny Stash the Swag board game, winner of a London Toy Fair Hero Toy Award 2019. Granny and Ben are planning the greatest jewel theft in history but can they avoid the Queen, collect and stash all the jewels? This fantastic, easy-play family game is for two to four players aged seven years and over, and encourages strategic thinking. New to the trivia scene is Are You Dumber Than a Box of Rocks? Pit your knowledge against the Rocks in this hilarious, quick-play trivia card game. For players aged 12 and over, this hilarious game is perfect for parties as any number of players can take part. For fun that spans generations, Shaboom! is a find-it-fast, do-it-first family game featuring a fast-paced competition with 100 events to challenge
Perfect for... ...pre-schoolers are the new Oi Frog! Memory Card Game in a Tin and three Oi 35-piece puzzles. Starring the renowned Oi Frog! Oi Cat! and Oi Dog! characters from the award-winning, funny, and rhyming story books, these eye-catching products are educational, colourful and fun.
observation, skill and dexterity. Players have to stack, roll, bounce and spell their way to victory. Warmer weather and lighter evenings are just around the corner so a bit of outdoor family fun is just what Flickin’ Chicken offers. This is a hilarious game of insane chicken throwing, where chickens bounce and roll but can you hit the target? Flickin’ Chicken is the go-anywhere
game that is perfect for the garden, the park, the beach and holidays. Also new on the shelves this spring is the I Spy Eagle Eye family game and the I Spy Preschool game. Both these fun and educational games see players racing to spot the matches. New to the family puzzles sector is a range of 500-4,000-piece jigsaws from Educa Puzzles. This collection, from the world-renowned Spanish company Educa Borras, features classic puzzle favourites, panorama puzzles and on-trend images.
Fact! Gangsta Granny Stash the Swag board game won a London Toy Fair Hero Toy Award 2019.
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GAMES & PUZZLES
Light fantastic CHARACTER OPTIONS 0161 633 9800 www.character-online.com Tap It is the ultimate high-energy adrenalinefuelled game for all the family. It features four electronic light-up pods with four different modes of play. Connect the pods together for a game of Pong. Line them up in sequence then pass the ‘light’ from one side of the line to the next. The loser misses the pass back – just like in a game of ping-pong. Each player is allocated a colour when playing Wireless. When the game starts each player has to find then tap their coloured pod to switch the colours up again. Game play gets faster as you progress through the levels and a point is gained each time you are the fastest to tap your allocated colour! Finally, for a game of Switch, position the pods around the room and allocate each player a colour. When the game starts, each player needs to race to their coloured pod. The first to tap their coloured pod switches the colours up and a switch in direction is required. For the ultimate game additional pods can be linked together to extend the fun even further! Tap It will launch in July with full viral marketing and TV support.
Absolutely Zonkers GIBSONS
020 8661 8866 www.gibsonsgames.co.uk Zonkers is Gibsons’ new fast and frantic dice game. Frantically roll your dice in a head-to-head frenzy as you try to win cards and beat your foe. The aim of the game is to match your dice with the dice graphics on the cards. When the cards are filled with dice, or when a player places their last dice, the round ends and the player with the most dice on a card wins. Gibsons has also released more than 40 new classic jigsaw puzzle designs that are available in an array of piece counts, from 100 to 2,000 pieces. Among the new releases are two centenary-themed puzzles including specially commissioned Steve Crisp and Thomas Kinkade designs, A Work of Art and Snowfall at Sundown. Like all Gibsons’ puzzles, the new releases are made from the highest-quality 100% recycled board. What’s more, Gibsons has the thickest 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles on the UK market, making them a pleasure to work with again and again.
This year Gibsons sees a range of special edition 1,000-piece puzzles that are made in the UK and presented in compact boxes to avoid excess waste. In addition, paper tabs hold the box together, making them kinder to the environment by reducing excess plastic waste. Among these jigsaws is Cream Teas & Queuing, a 1,000-piece puzzle designed by Val Goldfinch featuring an illustrated collection of 100 British historical landmarks, quirks and idiosyncrasies. And last but by no means least is Little Gibsons, a collection of bright and colourful jigsaw puzzles and games that have been tailor-made for inquisitive pre-schoolers. The products are produced from the same high-quality materials as Gibsons’ awardwinning adult jigsaw range and all the artwork has been designed by British artists. What’s more, each jigsaw and game is presented in an innovative box to complement the artwork theme, which means that the collection includes some weird and wonderful boxes that are sure to spark the imagination!
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GAMES & PUZZLES
Shake and spin JOHN ADAMS 01480 414361 www.johnadams.co.uk
Get ready to shake things up with Shake Off. The aim of the game is simple, the more you shake, the more you score! Spin the spinner to decide where you’ll wear the shake-o-meter, once ready press the timer and shake. The hilarious ‘hoot if you toot’ family challenge game Whoopee Doo is sure to get the family giggling. Sit on the large inflatable whoopee cushion and complete challenges before the time runs out, otherwise you’ll blow off in front of everybody! Can you beat the clock? Find out with Clock It! – the game where you have to say, draw or mime... it’s a race against time. Place 12 cards around the clock-face board and start the timer, which shows the card you have to draw, mime or describe to the other players. Competitors must guess as many cards as possible before the time runs out.
Also joining the range is Bank Attack, the intense and addictive collaborative game for kids aged seven-plus and families to work together as a team to crack the vault and release the gold hidden inside. Each person is assigned a role, you then use and swap tools, making sure you press buttons at the right time to open the vault before the alarm goes off. Six levels of challenging play, each increasing in intensity. Can you crack the vault as a team and get the 50 million dollars? There’s plenty of fun for younger kids too with whacky new action game Shark Chase. Escape the shark to be the winner… swim too slow and you’ll be his dinner! With Tetris celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2019, the collection has been extended to include new single and multiplayer games all based around the iconic Tetrimino shapes. Tetris Quake is the stacking, shaking, strategy game where your skills and nerves are put to their limits! Prove you’ve got the quickest reactions in the card game Tetris Speed and put your grey matter to the test by trying to re-build a 3D 16 piece Tetrimino puzzle. With 43 quintillion combinations and its unique turning and twisting action, the Rubik’s Cube has boggled minds since the 80s and is still the ultimate when it comes to brainteasers. Fans of the world’s most perplexing puzzle
Guess what… Tetris celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2019. can take on a new challenge with the Rubik’s Edge. The 3x3x1 Cube is a single-layer puzzle with nine cubes in a square – but it’s harder than it looks! Rubik’s Cage is a fun and strategic game of Tic Tac Toe for up to four players. It may seem easy to get three in a row but you can twist and turn the Cube to re-shuffle the game and you can even turn it upside down to really ‘scramble’ your opponent. In Rubik’s Match, players race to build the pattern on the challenge cards, using their own set of Cubie Cards. The first person to complete the pattern wins the round. Finally, The Strictly Come Dancing range has been extended with a hilarious family card game inspired by the hit show, and a brand-new Glitter Ball Challenge game. All key new launches will benefit from TV, VOD and digital advertising as well as full PR and social media plans.
Gi of the Year
Winner 2019 And the award for Hot Novelty Gift of the Year goes toâ€Śus! Woo Hoo!! Cue: tears and a long embarrassing speech. Hereâ€™s how to play: We give you the first half of an Internet search and you have to guess the top ten auto-suggestions. Some of the results are pretty bizarre but think like a human and youâ€™ll do fine. If youâ€™d like to see the full range of Big Potato party games, contact Emily Polglase: (email@example.com & 07427 824 526) bigpotato.com
GAMES & PUZZLES
Perfectly puzzling RAVENSBURGER
Fact! Ravensburger is launching more than 200 new products for 2019.
01869 363 800 www.ravensburger.com After nine years of consecutive growth and an exceptional 2018, Ravensburger is upbeat about 2019 and is excited to launch more than 200 new products throughout the year. 2019 sees new additions in children’s puzzles to the multiaward winning Peppa Pig range, plus exciting launches for How to Train your Dragon 3, Secret Life of Pets 2, Toy Story 4 and the much-anticipated Frozen 2. Discover other favourite characters including Thomas & Friends, PJ Masks, Bing Bunny and Disney, Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, Spirit, Rusty Rivets, That’s Not My, Enchantimals, Top Wing and School of Roars. Adult puzzles grew well ahead of the market in 2018, offering hobbyists and fans designs they want to collect, and tempting newcomers to the category. Discover
more than 80 exciting new designs for 2019. 3D puzzles remain important for Ravensburger, with key products being the Porsche 911, Harry Potter Night Bus, Frozen 2 designs and iconic world landmarks with lights. The games category is another key focus, with growth being driven by Disney Villainous, Harry Potter Labyrinth and Harry Potter Pictopia. A heavyweight TV-focused media campaign will launch this autumn, alongside many new major product launches. Ravensburger plans for high sales growth for its multiaward-winning range from ThinkFun, with Rush Hour being supported with TV advertising.
Blast from the past BIG POTATO 07472 824 526. www.bigpotato.com The golden age of video rentals is back! Introducing Blockbuster, the supersimple party game for anyone who has ever seen a movie. To start, split into two teams. In round one, each team chooses a member to go head-to-head in a quick-fire buzzer battle. From Famous trilogies to Movies with a zombie, these two players must think quick, shout out a movie and slap the buzzer to put the pressure on their opponent. The first player to run out of ideas loses the round. In round two, the player that wins the buzzer battle picks up six movie cards. They give the hardest three to their opponent and keep the rest for themselves. They then have 30 seconds to get their team to shout out the movies by using three tricky techniques – acting out the film, making up a quote, or describing the film with just one word. The faster they get them right, the more time they’ll have to steal from their opponents. With 200 classic movies, 60 category cards and a (nearly) life-size replica of a Blockbuster carpark, this is a party game that promises to bring home the entertainment, again and again.
GAMES & PUZZLES
Hole-in-one! VIVID IMAGINATIONS 01483 449944 www.vividtoysandgames.co.uk As part of the Goliath family, Vivid will be introducing more than 20 new games into the market in 2019 across the pre-school, kids and family games categories. Launching July 2019, Gator Golf is the fun golfing game for children that’s sure to deliver giggles time after time. Players must use the flamingo-shaped putter to putt the coloured balls into the gator’s mouth and watch as it returns the balls. Each ball you putt scores one point; score four points to win the game. Save your catch before the shark’s jaws snap in Shark Bite. Players must rescue the fish from the shark’s mouth using the fishing rod, but they need to be careful – it might bite! Roll the dice to see how many fish you need to rescue from the shark’s jaws; the player with the most fish at the end of the game is the winner. Dragon’s Snacks also joins the new introductions for 2019. Featuring a magical light reveal feature in the dragon’s belly, players must take it in turns to peek inside his tummy and try to remove the coloured snacks. Be careful though – if he burps you have to put his snack back! Last but not least is the popular family game Wordsearch, which is a board game twist on the UK’s most popular word puzzle. Players compete to spot words in one of the special pre-printed puzzles. Game play is simple; the more you spot, the more you score! The game comes complete with 10 double-sided game cards for lots of play value. Also available is Wordsearch Junior, which is designed especially for children, offering a fun way to aid word identification and spelling.
Fact! Vivid is launching more than 20 games in 2019.
It’s a kind of magic ORCHARD TOYS 01953 859525 www.orchardtoys.com Orchard Toys’ new language and literacy game Magic Spelling is already attracting a large amount of attention, both from trade and from consumers. Magic Spelling is the literacy counterpart to Orchard Toys’ top 10 bestselling game Magic Maths. This new, spellbinding game encourages five to seven year-olds to practise their spelling and supports literacy skills in line with the National Curriculum. Magic Spelling includes a number of features to enhance gameplay. Players will need a keen eye to spot hidden letters through the magic viewer, to find letters to spell words. Players then check their spelling using the magical rub-and-reveal cards; if correct, players then add a yucky ingredient to their spell book and cast their spell to win the game.
Clearly creative DKL MARKETING 01604 678780 www.dkl.co.uk Get creative with the Plus-Plus tubes. Each tube contains 100 or 240 Plus-Plus pieces and instructions, packaged in attractive clear tubing. The 100-piece tubes are available in a CDU display of 24 pieces or they can be hung. Alternatively, there is a Floor Spinner Stand, which can hold up to 144 tubes featuring a play tray with play pieces. There are so many themes to choose from, such as Aquatic Animals, Superhero, Mermaid, Space and many more. Children can’t resist picking up the construction pieces and getting creative.
GAMES & PUZZLES
Game on HASBRO
020 8569 1234 www.hasbro.com
This game has legs! SISO TOYS UK 01620 674 778 firstname.lastname@example.org Siso Toys UK will be springing a spider’s web in the games and puzzles category later this year with Springing Spiders – a fun, against-the-clock game that pits players against one other. Players set up a spider’s web and select a coloured spider. Four players can play with white, orange, green and black spiders in the mix. Players take turns launching the springing spiders into the web. The aim of the game is to try to land the spiders onto the spider’s web. The player with the most spiders on the web when the timer runs out wins the game! Springing Spiders will launch in September, just in time for Hallowe’en, and Siso Toys UK will be supporting Springing Spiders with a TV campaign.
Family Fiesta FIESTA CRAFTS 020 8804 0563 www.fiestacrafts.co.uk Families can enjoy easy puzzles with the new, double-sided Wooden Puzzle Sticks. Each set makes eight different puzzles. Children will love the tactile, rounded sticks, which they can sort to make up the colourful images of the wild animals, castle and dinosaurs themed sets. Children will also enjoy the nature-themed Circular Dominoes. Match pictures, numbers, or both – the aim is to complete the circle and use up all of the pieces. Discover The World is a fun, family game for players aged seven years-plus. The aim is to be the first to reach your destination and collect the most Destination Cards.
Hasbro has a game for everyone in 2019! Monopoly meets L.O.L. SURPRISE! in Monopoly: L.O.L. SURPRISE! Edition. Instead of locations and properties, players buy, sell, and swap other players’ Dolls shown on the game board, aiming to collect the most coveted in each club. Surprise! cards replace Chance cards, Stars and Emojis replace houses and hotels, and the tokens are authentic L.O.L. Surprise! doll accessories. Players are even offered an exciting surprise experience when they unwrap the game tokens. Suitable for children aged eight plus; available from AW19. The Tiny Pong Solo Table Tennis game brings exciting bouncing action into the palm of your hand! Launch the ball off the court and bounce it repeatedly on the court to rack up points. Move the court back and forth under the ball. Keep it going, getting a point for every bounce. To increase the challenge, switch from ‘Beginner’ mode to ‘Expert’ mode. The game responds with lights and sounds as players try to beat their highest score by getting as many bounces as they can. Suitable for children aged eight plus; available from AW19. Porcupine Pop is the exciting new game for kids that combines simple play with silliness and suspense. Players roll the die, press the porcupine’s nose that number of times, and hope his darts don’t fly out. No one knows when that will happen, and the only player not to make the porcupine pop wins. Kids can switch up the game play and try a round where whoever makes him pop first wins. Or try a game where each dart colour is assigned points and when the porcupine pops, players race to grab as many darts as they can, and the player with the most points wins. Suitable for children aged four plus; available from AW19. In the Plumber Pants game, players take turns raiding the plumber’s toolbox and loading the tools onto his belt. But they must be careful! If the plumber’s pants fall down on a player’s turn, water will spray from the sink, and that player will be out. The only player not to make his pants fall down wins. Plumber Pants is suitable for children aged four plus and will be available from AW19. The Lie Detector electronic game is ridiculously fun and just might shock you when it helps you find out the truth. The voice analysis in this adult party game (for over 16s) is designed to detect subtleties in a person’s voice to help you discover who’s telling the truth, and who’s not. A player in the hot seat is asked uncomfortable Yes or No questions such as, “If you found out your friend committed a horrible crime, would you turn them in?” You can also make up any Yes or No question you want! Just tell the truth and you’ll earn points, but a lie gives the point to your opponent. The player with the most points wins. Available from AW19. The Slow-Motion Race Game is a race to the finish with a really unusual twist. To play the game, two kids put on the speed-monitoring headbands. Then they press the button, listen for the music, and race to the trophy in slow motion. Don’t go too fast because the headband will buzz. If it does, a player has to freeze until the buzzing stops. The first player to grab the trophy, wins. Suitable for children aged eight plus, this great game is available from AW19.
GAMES & PUZZLES
Do try this at home! TRENDS UK 01295 768078 01353 724140 (Independents, Wind Designs) www.trendsuk.co.uk
Smash hit MOOKIE TOYS
01525 722722 www.mookie.co.uk Mookie Toys is the exclusive UK distributor for Yulu, the global toys and family entertainment company. This will open up a whole host of new exciting products in a variety of categories, including games. Yulu has already had amazing success with products including the award-winning Watermelon Smash, the hilarious family water roulette game that has already proven popular with YouTube influencers, generating hundreds of millions of online views. Also included in the Yulu Games collection is Tic Tac Tongue, a fun battle game you win by becoming a chameleon and knocking down targets with your tongued mask. Operations Escape Room, part of the Spy Games range, offers a variety of challenging team-work based spy games to free your team mates against the clock.
Guinness World Record Challenges is the game that puts players’ knowledge about Guinness World Records to the test. In this hilarious game, opponents are challenged to demonstrate some nifty recordbreaking skills using everyday household items. Players must compete to answer some of the 600 Guinness World Record question cards, but the crux of the game is to complete the challenges, quicker or more successfully than your opponents. The winner is the ﬁrst person to cross the ﬁnish line with three challenge cards in his/her possession. The Guinness World Records annual is the world’s best-selling copyright book with 138 million copies sold in more than 100 countries, two million YouTube subscribers, 12 million Facebook followers and more than 21 million annual visits to the GWR website. The brand has an enormous established fan base for the Guinness World Records Challenges game.
Belly laughs FLAIR, GP
020 8643 0320 www.ﬂairplc.co.uk Playing games this year will have families using their heads or busting their guts, thanks to the new games from Flair. For a sumo-smashing showdown, look no further than Belly Bashimi. Each game comes with two inﬂatable bellies that any sumo wrestler would be proud of. Inﬂate, wear and let the games begin. The aim is to knock your opponent out of the sumo ring with one belly push. For the cerebrally minded, 20Q is the tech toy and game that, through its in-built algorithms, always knows what you are thinking! The concept is simple, think of something and then let 20Q guess what it is; it will invariably
succeed in doing so in less than its allotted 20 questions. For those who loved the original, fear not… this 20Q is smarter than ever and comes with a new ergonomic design that makes playing even easier. Players can use it solo, testing it against whatever object they can think of, or amaze their friends with 20Q’s help as they read their minds! You’ll need to use your head in a different way with HeadSplat, but beware, your performance will either save or soak you. In this water challenge game you must use your head to ﬂip a water balloon into the splash out cup; hit the rim or miss and the balloon will burst and you’ll get head splatted.
Games for all! GREEN BOARD GAMES
01494538999 www.greenboardgames.com Green Board Games is stepping out with new Footsteps range targeting pre-schoolers up to three years of age. The striking range not only stands out with trend-setting designs and styling but ticks the box for promoting fun learning and early skill development. The collection includes proven and much-loved formats, including Stacking Cubes and Puzzle Cubes, to help children fine tune their motor skills and handeye co-ordination. Footsteps is a great capsule range for retailers of all sizes. Further bolstering its robust pre-school offering is Leaps & Bounds, promising safe and engaging high-quality play experiences for children under the age of three. The range includes Miximals, complete with fun-tolearn animal facts and Match–A–Rhyme a singalong nursery rhyme tile game for extra interactivity.
Mad Moose, a new range of family games, is also a must-see. Appropriately priced for impulse purchases, the bright collection is not only educational but will keep children aged five plus entertained with a variety of fun and interactive different formats. Games in the range include Alpha Chase, the winning game from Green Board Games’ 2017 Young Games Inventor of the Year Competition. Making the world smarter through playful learning is MindWare, a complete range of games and puzzles selected to foster life-long learning. Strategy game fans will love new introduction, Double Spot, which is suitable for ages six plus. Qwirkle is also a great, inclusive game for all the family; a simple matching colours and shapes game with extra layers of skill and strategy to enjoy!
Stepping Out It’s official! Getting out of the house to play has multiple sensory and physical developmental benefits for our children – so it’s just as well that the toy market is rising to meet these needs with a fantastic array of new product designs and play equipment, as Sarah Welsh discovers
n bygone days, children spent a great deal of time playing outdoors, but with such strong innovation in the outdoor toys market, who says this has to be a nostalgic memory? The charity Action for Children has released information showing that barriers to outdoor play can include parental fears of busier streets and higher crime rates, as well as increased screen time in our tech-driven modern world. But studies of children reveal that many would actually prefer to spend more time outside. And with a broad range of truly imaginative toys and outdoor play equipment hitting the market, the obstacle to outdoor play certainly isn’t going to be design-related in 2019. Emma Horne, Action for Children’s National Director for England, says: “For all children, the importance of being able to play outside whatever the weather has
At this time of year our audience for this category tends to be driven by children and their ‘pester power’ Warren Du Preez, Toy Buyer, Daniel
Top 10 sellers
Mookie Toys many benefits – from mental physical wellbeing to cognitive brain development. “Being able to play outside supports a child’s development through learning new things such as climbing, swinging or sliding. The act of moving the body, whatever the age of your child, has a great physical impact on wellbeing while sedentary lifestyles are linked to obesity – and there is a rising problem with this, concerning children in the UK. “Being physically active releases endorphins and exposure to sunlight at safe levels supports Vitamin D production. Playing outside enables a child to feel new experiences and also talk about them, in turn supporting the development of speech and language. Plus children also learn about their own personal resilience when
According to figures from NPD, the top 10 Outdoor and Sports Toys in the UK last year included: Character Options’ Laser X Two Player Laser Gaming Set, Mookie’s Scuttlebug Asst, MGA’s Lt Cozy Couple 30th Anniversary, My Lovely Unicorn from Geemac and an amazing four listings for Hasbro’s Nerf brand – including the Strike Elite Disrupter and Firestrike.
playing outside.” Interestingly David Mordecai, CEO of Tobar, reports that the company has been working alongside healthcare professionals to ensure that its outdoor toys really hit the spot when it comes to aiding children’s development. “We’ve all been long-aware of the therapeutic benefits of outside play,” David tells TnP. “More than ever, we’re finding that healthcare professionals are talking to us about our products and how they integrate them into their work. “Every year, as the weather starts to improve, we see fantastic sales of ‘the evergreen classics’, such as Space Hoppers, Hula Hoops and Pogo Sticks. This year, the main trend we’ll see is parents placing greater emphasis on achieving a balance between technology and good old fresh air and activity. “Parents want outdoor toys that
Daniel Department Store’s top three outdoor toys:
Kickmaster Footballs, MV Sports Whirlee ride-on, Mookie Toys Phlat Balls, Vivid Imaginations
“ are safe, durable and good value for money – and if you can then make them look great or add an innovative twist to stand out. We’re really pleased with our light-up range for the outdoor category.” Gemma Lewington, Head of Marketing for Mookie, says the brand is seeing stronger trends within this category, with playhouses, multi-plays and trampolines likely to be the big sellers for the year ahead. “We have some new and exciting playhouses, including the TP Treetops Wooden Tower Playhouse – a fantastic two-level playhouse with storage box/ bench. Also launching in 2019 is the Sunnyside wooden playhouse, perfect for children aged from just 18 months. “Within the trampoline category we’re revolutionising the way models looks, with the TP Infinity Leap Trampoline – the world’s first twolevel design! Also, not forgetting the importance of our market-leading Swingball and The Bugs. “And in terms of the lifestyle considerations that parents may have, we also think carefully about the materials we use and their colour palette to ensure they are in tune with current trends.” Phil Ratcliffe, Sales and Marketing Director for MV Sports, says 2019 will see an increase in licensed outdoor and wheeled toys, not least because of upcoming Disney film releases, that include: Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, Spider-Man, Avengers: Endgame and the live-action Lion King. “These are all returning favourites, but the difference is that MV has really gone to town on design and breadth of range,” he says. “Toy Story, Frozen and Spiderman now benefit from an
Parents want outdoor toys that are safe, durable and good value for money – and if you can then make them look great or add an innovative twist to stand out
exciting and coordinated look across bikes, scooters, foot to floor and batterypowered ride-ons. “We also have classic perennial performers such as Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig, and have expanded our own Tobar brands with key introductions in Kickmaster, Hedstrom and Wired. But perhaps the but it expands from May with the David Mordecai, most exciting new range is arrival of pools and water guns.” CEO of Tobar our UMove scooters, which Aamir Yusef from Totally Awesome combine amazing specification with Toys, with stores in Hebdon Bridge and affordable pricing. Halifax, has a huge range of outdoor “My personal favourites in terms of toys and games on his shop floors – this year’s new releases are the 6V and often looks to stock things that Disney Princess Horse & Carriage and are a little out of the ordinary. the 6V Buzz Lightyear Space Cruiser.” “Affordable price points are Heritage French wooden brand important, as although we sell a fair Janod has some lovely new products number of skateboards and scooters, for 2019, designed to stimulate upgrading a scooter is a once-a-year younger children’s love for purchase,” Aamir says. “We stock outdoor play. My Bird Feeder juggling equipment, which is very and My First Birdhouse are popular, and also have a large section beautifully conceived and decorated of boomerangs and frisbees. pieces that encourage little ones to “Throwing toys is a big trend for us feed and enjoy ‘our bird friends’. right now, as is retro items – for example The little gardener playset and the Indy Fun Stepper, that parents metal wheelbarrow will inspire remember from when they were kids. green-fingered children, while My We also sell stilts and kites, and I’m a Little Petanque and My First Skittles, massive geek, so I love putting on events available from June, boost fine motor such as kite training in-store. skills and concentration. “In terms of merchandising outdoor Warren Du Preez, Toy Buyer toys, I don’t arrange products in terms for Windsor’s famous Daniel of brand. We like to think outside of store, reports that the top three the box – so, for example, I built an sellers within outdoor toys for his innovative scooter rack where products department are MV’s Kickmaster are displayed by age group and height. Footballs, Mookie’s Whirlee ride-on “Suppliers and brands that are great and Phlat Balls from Vivid. for us include: Aerobie, Juggle Dreams, “At this time of year our audience D-Street skateboards, for this category tends to be driven Wilton Chilli scooters, JWS by children and their ‘pester power’,” Bradley Europe, which is a Warren says. “Our outdoor section is juggling wholesaler roughly 200sq foot at the moment, and Hasbro’s Nerf.”
Reaching new heights MOOKIE TOYS 01525 722722 www.mookie.co.uk Following a record-breaking year in 2018 for TP Toys since it became part of the Mookie portfolio, Mookie is expecting an exceptional year ahead. To support the brand’s 60th birthday celebrations, TP Toys will be introducing a variety of new products, including the world’s first two-level trampoline, TP Infinity Leap Trampoline. This product features two horizontal jump zones at different levels that are linked by a bungee sprung bounce slope. It also has an easy to put up, take down and fold away enclosure that can be operated by just one adult. Olivia Street, British trampolining champion says: “I had a great time bouncing on the TP Infinity Leap Trampoline; as garden trampolines go this is definitely the best I’ve ever been on, the stepped bed certainly makes for a more challenging and exciting experience!”
Building on the success of its mud kitchen range, TP Toys has combined the much-loved wooden playhouse with two Mud Kitchen Accessory Sets that can bolt on to playhouses or any other suitable surface, adding lots of extra fun. Mookie also has some new additions to the well-known Swingball brand, including, 3 in 1, 5 in 1 and Speedplay Soccer. The 5 in 1 Multiplay All Surface Swingball is the ultimate Swingball games set, with three modes and five ways to play to keep families entertained. The 5 in 1 Swingball includes Swingball, Soccer Swingball, Volleyball, Tailball Tennis and Fling Disc. In addition, the Bug ride-ons, which have appeared in the top 10 items in ride-ons, are the perfect first ride-on for toddlers. With a patented folding system, they offer a portable, easy store and practical solution for the modern family.
Luvvly bubbly FUNRISE 01908 555640 www.funrise.com Funrise’s Gazillion Bubbles range is ever-expanding. A new star for 2019 will be the new Gazillion Bubble Rush. With its revolutionary design, this high-powered bubble machine blows the most bubbles ever. This next-generation bubble machine has a three-sectioned no-spill modular design including a removable washable top, solution recycling tray and batteries and motor sealed inside the base. Simply pour solution into the reservoir and push the button for a bubble explosion in seconds. This new super bubble machine for the Gazillion family is designed to create hours of fun for kids, but be easy to clean for parents. Also new for this summer are the Turbo Bubbles, Mini Hurricane and Battle Buster Gazillion handheld gadgets; all of which join classic favourites such as the Gazillion Monsoon and Whirlwind. Gazillion Bubbles is supported by a full marketing schedule including enhanced digital presence and TV activity.
E BL A IL EY A DL AV A Y R EL B V N SI TO LU IL C W EX AT
Learn More / Request a Catalogue â€¢ Tel: 01626 835400 www.wiltonbradley.co.uk â€¢ Email: email@example.com
Summer looks sweet JOHN ADAMS 01480 414361 www.johnadams.co.uk John Adams’ successful Intex outdoor toys range is expanding, with a selection of exciting new products to its portfolio. The new play centres and inflatables will sit alongside the existing Intex range of aboveground pools, ride-on toys and games. New for 2019, the Cupcake Mat ride-on is a pure guilt-free summer treat! Make your relaxation just that bit sweeter with the realistic cupcake design, which is the perfect accessory for the beach and pool. The Candy Zone Play Centre continues the sweet theme, with a candy-inspired land that includes a mini waterslide, two inflatable lollipops, six balls and rails to roll the balls down. A water sprayer can be attached to a garden hose to keep everyone cool and refreshed when playing in the sun. Little ones will have a whale of time with the super-cute Whale Spray Pool. The brightly-coloured spray pool features a friendly whale design with a tail that sprays water, making outdoor play even more fun. Keeping cool just got cuter with the Duckling Snapset Pool. The pool is adorned with adorable duckling graphics on the outside, while the Just So Fruity Pool features favourite summer fruits.
Playtime surprises LITTLE TIKES 0845 0533 333 www.littletikes.co.uk Little Tikes’ latest collaboration sees the brand move in with the ever-popular L.O.L. Surprise!, expanding the toy range into the garden and introducing younger L.O.L. Surprise! fans to their very own first home. The L.O.L. Surprise! Cottage Playhouse will be the hottest new house on the block. Suitable for children aged two years plus, it’s bright pink and glittery, with cute L.O.L. Surprise! branding. Little ones will have the perfect hang-out spot that is sure to stand out in any garden. Step inside the L.O.L. Surprise! Cottage Playhouse through its modern and arched doorway or have a peek through the window with its real working shutters. Complete with a letter box to post notes to your BFFs, the latest addition to the L.O.L. Surprise! collection is a must-have for younger fans, combining the surprise and delight of L.O.L. Surprise!.
Movie magic MV SPORTS 0121 748 8000 www.mvsports.co.uk MV Sports’ recent expansion of the Disney portfolio now includes the entire roster of forthcoming entertainment releases including Toy Story, Lion King, Spider Man, Minnie Mouse and Frozen. Evergreen properties Batman, Peppa, Disney Princess and Paw Patrol are guaranteed customer favourites, with Disney Princess and Paw Patrol both refreshed for 2019. Toy Story has been a childhood classic for more than 20 years and MV Sports has re-imagined the timeless classic to feature all the favourite characters in bright and bold colours. Go to infinity and beyond with its new Buzz range, with Buzz 6v Space Cruiser ride-on and new Toy Story 4 products due to launch before the film release in June 2019. MV Sports also has several new additions to the popular L.O.L. Surprise! range, including a new range of scooters, skates and bikes. Barbie turns 60 this year and MV Sports is celebrating with a new range that has pops of contemporary candy colours, combined
with the iconic Barbie pink, and modern graphics to give it a fresh look and feel. For older boys MV Sports has several new licences, including Spider-Man, Avengers Endgame, Ninja Turtles, Transformers Bumblebee, Hot Wheels and Nerf, all featuring, scooters, skateboards and bikes with cool graphics to complement each range. Its own-brand categories are also expanding, with a new range of premium scooters and ride-ons. The new UMove range features products that grow with the child; UMove is lightweight, high quality, and affordable, with many items having the option of light-up wheels. MV Sports’ classic own brand ranges also have new innovation for 2019. Stunted now includes an entry-level stunt scooter and two premium models. Hedstrom has a new Dome Climber with easy unique fixings, and a 3-in-1 swing with blow moulded seat. Kickmaster incorporates two new revolutionary products; the Soccer Arcade (a multi-play shoot out with integral goal) and Soccer Box, a five-feature skills trainer, which folds down for easy storage and portability.
the ultimate generation game
Be bowled over! JANOD/JURATOYS 0208 878 2133 www.janod.com Juratoys launched a whole new collection of outdoor products at the trade shows at the start of the year, for which the feedback has been extremely positive. Within the Juratoys’ new collection are some great outdoor games, including animal skittles, My First Skittles, which are made from solid pinewood and painted with a very cute design. Its new skipping ropes are not to be missed, with the cute Bunny and Fox design, felt ears and wooden handles. To add to the charm, the whole collection of outdoor games is hand painted and made from great quality wood, perfect for outside fun! Also within the outdoor range, Juratoys has launched a brightly coloured, My First Bird Box, as well as a Bird Feeder. These products are both suitable for children aged six years plus and are designed to encourage an interest in wildlife, which Juratoys feels is important to a child’s educational development. The boxes are designed beautifully and an ideal gift for little explorers. Further to this, Juratoys has also introduced a fresh new collection of outdoor gardening products called the ‘Happy Garden’ collection. With a new colour concept and hedgehog design, this collection stands out from the crowd. An FSDU is also available for retailers to help with the merchandising of these products. Available within the collection is a gorgeous wheelbarrow with wooden handles, a watering can, a garden rake, a brush and gloves, and so much more.
Ride on time WILTON BRADLEY 01626 835400 www.wiltonbradley.com Both the Xootz Viper and Elements electric scooter have been a success story so far for Wilton Bradley, proving popular both in the UK and worldwide markets. 2019 will see the introduction of the Typhoon Power Drift Trike and two new electric scooters, the Electro and Energizer. The Typhoon Power Drift Trike was created using in-house tooling and 3D design, evolving the Viper design and colourway. With an impressive run time of 60 minutes and max speed of 16km/h this unique ride-on provides endless outdoor fun. The new Electro and Energizer electric scooters also follow on from the unique Viper design. The electric scooters market is currently growing at a fast pace, especially as their use on roads has become legal in certain countries. An exciting new item for Wilton Bradley, the Range Rover Ride On & Suitcase is perfect for travelling tots aged two to six years old. This officially licensed two-in-one suitcase is available in three colours and makes travelling more enjoyable for kids, as well as giving them the ability to store everything they need for their next holiday. This ride-on suitcase is made to look just like the high-performance Range Rover Sport SVR. The eyecatching design replicates the best-selling Range Rover Electric Ride On which is also exclusively available from Wilton Bradley.
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Hop to it! TOBAR 01603 397 105 www.tobar.co.uk Tobar has a vast range of outdoor products for all ages including a wide range of pogo sticks, pedal racers, stilts, hula hoops, bungee bouncers and a really varied range of Hoppers. Hoppers are a great garden toy for the summer and Tobar has hoppers of all shapes and sizes. The Giant Space Hopper will take adults back to fun-filled childhood days and the whole family will love the bestselling Retro Space Hopper, Sally Space Hopper, Smiler and Junior. And now you can hop for charity, as the Hop for GOSH hopper means that for every purple hopper sold, Tobar will donate 10 per cent to Great Ormond Street Hospital. For those who want to improve their balance, the Rock n Hopper has been carefully designed to help. The Rock n
Hopper is a ball with a balance shelf to stand on and keep upright – great training for skating and skateboarding! As the summer days stretch into summer nights, be sure to opt for the Flashing Outdoor Range; a luminescent light show in great, eye-catching packaging. Families can sparkle as they skip with the Flashing Skip Ball. The Flashing Space Hopper, which comes with a pump included, is also bound to be a hit. Both the Flashing Hula Hoops and Flashing Pois will have everyone running around and creating circles. And the Flashing UFO Swing Seat, which attaches to any existing swing set or zipline, will see all faces light up! Tobar’s outdoor range includes a full gamut of garden games – from rounders to golf, quoits to a giant noughts and crosses game.
Water works for Zuru GEEMAC
01604 401 719 firstname.lastname@example.org Since Zuru launched X-Shot, it has grown globally by 66 per cent YoY (2017:2018). The X-Shot Flying Bug Attack was also nominated for Toy of the Year. Available from March, the X-Shot Fast-Fill is set to revolutionise the water blaster category. Due to its speed and ease of use, consumers are offered maximum performance. With a fill-time of just one second, children can refill their blasters quickly, increasing valuable play time by getting back to the action long before their opponents. The blaster has been designed to be filled anywhere and is equipped with a superior Rapid-Seal Technology that closes the blaster tank instantly. The tank holds up to 700ml of water and the blasting power reaches distances of up to 10 metres. The launch is supported by a robust PR and marketing campaign, including a global television commercial and engaging social media content across all channels. For summer 2019, Zuru has introduced a special global ‘Splash to Win’ on-pack promotion for its Bunch O Balloons brand. Since launching in 2016, more than five billion water balloons have been popped worldwide! Launching in March, the ‘Splash to Win’ promotion will give consumers the chance to win thousands of summer prizes such as scooters, drones and games consoles, plus the Grand Prize – a brand new car – and the runner-up prize of a family holiday for four. Specially marked Bunch O Balloons packs will contain game tokens that can then be soaked in water to reveal a special code.
On a roll H. GROSSMAN 0141 613 2525 www.ozbozz.co.uk H. Grossman’s Ozbozz brand is renowned for outdoor products. The revamped Light Burst Scooter rolled away with more than one consumer award last year, with its light-up deck. The sell-out Ozbozz Unicorn scooter is set to continue as a bestsellier for 2019. And both sides of the age spectrum are catered for with My First Scooter – the Ozbozz classic for pre-schoolers. Three scooters in one, it evolves from being a four-wheeler to a trike and then a twowheeler. The My First Trike won Infant and Pre-School Hero Toy at London Toy Fair 2019, with a control handle at the rear for parents to help steer.And the Kitty Paw and Puppy Paw Scooters will be a hit with pet lovers!
GET FRESH AIR WITH JANOD! NE
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32 High Park Road, Kew Gardens, Richmond TW9 4BH • United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 8878 2133 • email@example.com • website www.janod.com
Phlat out fun VIVID IMAGINATIONS 01483 449944 www.vividtoysandgames.co.uk The award-winning Phlat Ball and recently introduced Phlat Ball V3 Fusion Flash – the light-up version of the award winning original – will continue to feature as focus items for spring/summer 2019 within Vivid’s outdoor range. The Super Wubble – an extension to the successful inflatable Wubble line – also continues to be popular and was recently awarded Outdoor Toy of the Year at the Toy Industry Awards 2018 at London Toy Fair.
A Flair for footie FLAIR, GP 0208 643 0320 www.flairplc.co.uk Flair’s Messi Training range takes outdoor training to a new level and allows kids to improve their football skills with a professional training method and equipment, which are both fun and dynamic. Already successful, the spring 2019 collection has a refreshed look, with a branding overhaul, and new packaging and colourways, making each piece instantly recognisable as endorsed by football legend Lionel Messi. Essential to the range is the 2-in-1 Soft Touch Ball, available in red and blue with each featuring an image of Messi in his No 10 shirt. Ideal for younger players, the extendable cord is height adjustable but also detaches from the size-2 ball for free play. The easy-grip handle and soft touch feel make it perfect for honing those finer football skills. The refreshed design follows through to the wide collection of accessories, such as the new Time Zone Training Set, which allows the player to monitor their progress, while performing drills. Included is an Official Messi size-4 flex foam ball, training cones and timer. The Game Time Training Set is perfect for two-player training and includes a large foldable goal, ball and pump, Messi vests. Challenge your friends or have your own hard-core skills session! These new Messi Training items are available now, while in April a Limited-Edition Pro Training Ball, Core Training Set and 2-in-1 Auto Trainer will complete the refreshed line-up.
Have a blast with Fortnite! HASBRO 020 8569 1234 www.hasbro.com Hasbro has revealed its licensed Nerf Fortnite blasters in partnership with Epic Games. These blasters aim to immerse fans into the playerversus-player action of the game, letting them play out the battle royale in off-screen, real-world settings, with blasters and accessories that emulate the amazing onscreen battles Fortnite is known for. Children aged eight plus will love playing Fortnite in real life with the Nerf Elite Fortnite SP-L blaster, which will be available from April 2019. This Nerf blaster comes with a detachable barrel to customise for different ways to play. Attach the barrel for distance targeting; remove the barrel when you need a more compact look for smaller play areas or when you need to move fast and stay mobile. The Fortnite SP-L blaster has an internal clip with a three-dart capacity, so you can load three darts in a row before it’s time to reload. Insert three darts, prime, and pull the trigger to fire. It comes with six official Nerf darts that are designed for distance, tested and approved for performance and quality, and
constructed of foam with flexible, hollow tips. Drop into indoor and outdoor Fortnite action with this dart-firing NerfElite Fortnite blaster! Includes: blaster, six darts, and instructions. Handpowered, no batteries required. The Nerf Fortnite AR-L blaster features motorised dart blasting. Power up the motor with the acceleration button and pull the trigger to shoot one dart. It comes with a 10-dart clip and 20 Official Nerf Elite Fortnite darts; enough to fully load the clip and give you 10 backup darts for reloading. Flip up the two sights on the top of the blaster to align your shot. Official Nerf darts are designed for distance, tested and approved for performance and quality, and constructed of foam with flexible, hollow tips. Drop into indoor and outdoor Fortnite action with this motorised, dart-firing Nerf Elite Fortnite blaster! Includes: blaster, 20 darts, and instructions. Suitable for children aged eight plus and available from April 2019, this Nerf blaster requires four 1.5V AA batteries, which are not included.
Flashing Hola Hoop
As the light starts to dim, break out these flashing outdoor toys and turn the early evening into a luminescent light show!
Flashing UFO Swing Seat
1MBDFZPVSPSEFSUPEBZ tel: 01603 397 105 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tobar.co.uk/action
NEW YORK TOY FAIR
New York, New York! The city that doesn’t sleep played host to the global toy and play community earlier this month, as they gathered for the 116th North American International Toy Fair. TnP was in the Big Apple to see the industry’s latest innovations first hand
hen you think of New York City, what springs to mind – skyscrapers, a fleet of yellow taxis, the Statue of Liberty, Fifth Avenue? One thing’s for sure, when you come to the Big Apple, you’re never at a loss for things to do. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit this city, there are always new things to see, and that’s never truer than when you’re visiting for the North American International Toy Fair. Flying in for a sneak peek at the hundreds of thousands of ground-breaking toys and games at this year’s show, were 26,000 professionals from 98 countries. “Buyers from around the world, and toy, play, and licensing professionals came to unleash their outer business executive and inner child at this year’s Toy Fair New York!” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Toy Association. “Toy Fair New York is the gateway to toy aisles this holiday season, and drives the $28 billion US toy market and influences markets around the world.” From veteran brands to firsttime exhibitors, the 1,038 exhibiting companies unveiled new product lines in front of more than 10,600 retailers, wholesalers, entertainment executives, importers and buying groups. The top five countries represented at the
Did you know… The NPD Group believes the US toy market is worth around $28 billion.
show, excluding the US and Canada, were China, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Japan. “More than ever, Toy Fair New York is a must-stop destination for global play professionals who consider it the place to find the most cutting-edge toys, games, and youth entertainment products coming to market,” said Marian Bossard, Executive VP of Global Market Events at The Toy Association. And this year, it wasn’t just those fortunate enough to walk around the 447,300 sq.ft. of exhibitor space at the Javits Convention Centre who were able to get a look at the new products coming out of the industry this year. Over the course of the show, the #TFNY hashtag was used in more than 97,000 posts, delivering more than 191 million impressions that reached more than 93 million people on social media globally. “Tapping into the vast social media network around the globe allows brands to promote their products to toy enthusiasts and professionals who weren’t able to be at the show, and to get fans really amped up about exciting and innovative toys, games, and licensed products coming to market,” says Marian Bossard. Stealing the limelight this year at Toy Fair were the licensed products on show. Steve Pasierb told TnP: “Licensed products are a huge contributor to US toy sales, representing about 30 percent of all toys sold in the US. Traditional forms
More than ever, Toy Fair New York is a must-stop destination for global play professionals who consider it the place to find the most cutting-edge toys, games, and youth entertainment products coming to market Marian Bossard, Executive VP Global Market Events, The Toy Association
of licensing such as toys based on blockbuster movies or durable franchises, TV series, video games, and beloved children’s books are still very popular, and now there’s so much more children’s content as a result of streaming services, social media influencers and mobile games.” Steve thinks companies need to think beyond traditional boundaries and own their own IP across media channels and product categories. He says: “A powerful trend in licensing is the success many toy companies have in creating and managing their own IP, and how some toy companies are now powerful licensors, such as Spin Master with PAW Patrol, Hasbro with My Little Pony, Moose Toys with Shopkins, and MGA Entertainment with L.O.L. Surprise!” Some of the most talked-about licensed toys included Mattel’s BTS UNO game, WWE Pop! collectables from Funko, and Hasbro’s Power Rangers Beast X-Morphers. But there was also room for overseas licences at the show. One of Steve’s favourite examples was WowWee’s recentlyannounced line of interactive toys based on the popular Korean brand, Pinkfong. Steve says: “Pinkfong’s viral YouTube video Baby Shark Dance has more than 1.8 billion views and counting. WowWee is certainly seizing on a global phenomenon.” The Toy Association’s trend experts also shared their findings into this year’s must-have toys and play patterns at the Fair. Unsurprisingly, one of the trends was licensed playthings – in particular those inspired by the big screen. For more information about trends for 2019, see page 12. Block out the time in your diaries now for the 117th North American International Toy Fair that will take place between 22-25 February 2020.
Step back in time TnP’s Founder, Malcolm Naish, takes a look back through time, reflecting on the events of Marches past: 1989, 1999, 2009 and 2014
March 2014 • We were sorry to see Chris Spalding leave LeapFrog, as Chris had been a big fan of TnP. • Simon Pilling left the BTHA and Majen Immink was appointed Head of Operations – and what a splendid job Majen has done since! • The big news story was that Mattel had just purchased Mega Bloks, one of our most regular advertisers, for a cool $460m. • One of the nicest guys in the industry – Roger Sherman – retired from his position as Spielwarenmesse’s UK agent. • Seth Bishop left Re:creation after 16 years to look for pastures new. • It was certainly a month for key people leaving for pastures new, as Neil Bandtock, MD of Vivid, also resigned from his position. • Flair topped the charts for February TV spend with an investment of £610,477.
March 2009 • Medium-sized suppliers were not very happy with their levels of business from the nation’s grocers. In ‘Our Letter to the Editor’ one supplier described it thus: “In general, the grocers have been nothing short of a sham. It’s not sour grapes either – I am doing business with the grocers, but I have absolutely no idea where the business will be from one season to the next. On behalf of the medium sized suppliers – like my company – (and I’m sure I’m speaking on behalf of the smaller suppliers too), there is no trust, no sense of continuity, pathetic levels of communication and no kind of relationship being built. I have tried to contact buying managers but they don’t even respond to emails. No one can tell me these people are busier than Argos, TRU etc. because they’re not, but I can get hold of buyers, buying managers and even directors of these companies easily.” Moving on 10 years has the situation improved I wonder? • The Hong Kong Toy and Games Fair decided that for 2010 they would move the show one week later. While this may have suited them, it was unlikely to suit many of the UK visitors who had always visited in the first week of January. Our prediction was correct, as many in the ensuing years had to stay extra days to take in the Kowloon showrooms and then follow with the Hong Kong Toy Fair.
March 1999 • LEGO announced the opening of its first retail store in Bluewater Park, Kent. Many independent retailers were not happy, but they didn’t cancel their LEGO deliveries as a protest! • Suppliers were telling us they were fed up with retail buying groups undertaking their own FOB programmes. • Having mentioned in the previous month that Peter Brown was creating Flair, his long-time associate Russ Ward announced that he would be joining as MD. • Pip Loveland passed away at the ripe old age of 99. Pip was first Toy Buyer and then Controller of Toys at Selfridges for many years. Unlike many buyers today, Pip never turned away a rep or agent wishing to show him a line. His philosophy was that you might turn away someone with a product that would make his company a lot of money. Pip was also a founder member of the Fence Club. He lived life to the full, loved his champagne and fine food. As I said at the time: “If this is a recipe for old age then give me plenty of it!” • Golden Bear celebrated its 20th year in business. Two years earlier it had won the ‘Toy of the Year’ award for its Teletubbies. Moving on to 2019 and it’s the company’s 40th birthday with Christine Nichols and John Hales still at the helm. • Toys ‘n’ Playthings gets its own email address.
March 1989 • The new EEC Toy Safety Directive came into effect on the 1 January. The new CE symbol could not be used on packaging, unless an accredited Toy Safety testing house had given its approval. • Manufacturers and importers with imitation food as part of their ranges would have to consider the Food Imitations (Safety) Regulations that would come into force at the end of the year. This would make it an offence to supply product that has a form, odour, colour, packaging, etc. likely to cause people to confuse it with food. Buyers could also be prosecuted if found with food look-alikes on sale. • One of our competitors ‘Toys International’ ceases publication. They were the first A4 title, but only published six times a year. • Argos announced its results for 1988 – a trading profit of £60million – an increase of 27 per cent on 1987. Sales stood at £726million. Its number of stores stood at 231. • Hornby also announced a good set of results with pre-tax profits up by 31.5 per cent and turnover up by 16.6 per cent to £23.4million. • The year’s licensed characters included Thomas, Parsley the Lion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers and The Real Ghost Busters.
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FOR THE DAY
DON’T MISS… We bring to the fore a selection of the hottest and newest products that will help you sell more. Buyers and retailers, get in touch with your sales contact now!
Product: 20 Second Showdown Company: Big Potato Tel: 0203 620 9495 Web: www.bigpotato.com
Product: Feisty Pets Company: Jazwares Tel: 020 3598 0270 Web: www.jazwares.com
Product: Splishies Company: Vivid Imaginations Tel: 01483 449944 Web: www.vividtoysandgames.co.uk
Product: MAN TGS truck with three glass recycling containers and bottles Company: Bruder Tel: 01491 412415 (The Sales Partnership) Web: www.bruder.de
Product: My First Skittles Company: Janod/Juratoys Tel: 0208 878 2133 Web: www.janod.com
Product: PetSqueaks Company: VTech Tel: 01235 555 545 Web: www.vtech.co.uk
Product: Alpha Chase Company: Green Board Games Tel: 01494 538999 Web: www.greenboardgames.com
Product: Ryan’s World Bursterz Company: Sinco Creations Tel: 07793 121778 Web: www.sincocreations.com
Product: Range Rover Ride On & Suitcase Company: Wilton Bradley Tel: 01626 835400 Web: www.wiltonbradley.com